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Goalie Curtis McElhinney leaving Canes, GM Don Waddell says

On the record: Canes’ Rod Brind’Amour

Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour discusses the prospects development camp, the Canes' goaltending situation and his first year as coach after the team's Summerfest Celebration at PNC Arena on June 29, 2019.
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Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour discusses the prospects development camp, the Canes' goaltending situation and his first year as coach after the team's Summerfest Celebration at PNC Arena on June 29, 2019.

The Carolina Hurricanes won’t have goalies Curtis McElhinney and Petr Mrazek sharing the net next season.

Canes general manager Don Waddell, addressing Canes fans Saturday at the Summerfest Celebration at PNC Arena, said McElhinney is “definitely going somewhere else.”

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Carolina’s Curtis McElhinney (35) makes the save on a shot by New York’s Jordan Eberle (7) during the second period of the Carolina Hurricanes’ game against the New York Islanders at PNC Arena in Raleigh Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Ethan Hyman ehyman@newsobserver.com

McElhinney and Mrazek both are due to become unrestricted free agents on Monday, when NHL free agency begins. Waddell had said his goal was to re-sign both to new contracts and keep the goaltending tandem intact, but McElhinney apparently has been swayed to sign with another team.

Waddell said talks continue with Mrazek “daily, hourly” as the Canes continue to secure a No. 1 goalie for next season. The Canes and Alex Nedeljkovic, the AHL goalie of the year in 2018-19 with the Charlotte Checkers, agreed on a new two-year pact Friday and Carolina recently worked a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks for backup goalie Anton Forsberg.

Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour said Saturday that the goaltending was a concern with McElhinney leaving and Mrazek unsigned.

“I get it, I understand. Everybody wants to get paid,” he said. “They’re going to get the best contract they can get and I understand that. It’s disheartening at times but that’s the nature of the game. Especially where (McElhinney) is in his career I totally understand it.”

The Canes, in need of a goalie when Scott Darling was injured in preseason, claimed McElhinney off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs just before the season opener. McElhinney started the second game, at Columbus, and would join with Mrazek in helping the Canes reach the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

“Another challenge, another thing to embrace and I’ve tried to make the most of it,” McElhinney said late in the season.

McElhinney, who turned 36 in May, had 20-11-2 record with a 2.58 goals-against average and .913 save percentage and won three playoff games for the Canes. He had a $850,000 salary and should be in for a sizable increase with his new team.

In more than 30 years at The N&O, Chip Alexander has covered the N.C. State, UNC, Duke and East Carolina beats, and now is in his 11th season on the Carolina Hurricanes beat. Alexander, who has won numerous writing awards at the state and national level, covered the Hurricanes’ move to North Carolina in 1997 and was a part of The N&O’s coverage of the Canes’ 2006 Stanley Cup run.
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