Francis: Darling trade worth the risk for Hurricanes

Posted: 29/04/2017 in NHL, Sports
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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The Carolina Hurricanes are taking a shot on Scott Darling.

By obtaining the rights to the former Chicago Blackhawks netminder, the Hurricanes now have an exclusive negotiating window to work out a contract extension prior to July 1, when Darling can become an unrestricted free agent.

“This is a bit of a gamble but one we believed was worth taking,” Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis told Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer. “This is why we accumulated these picks and we still have 10 left. It was worth the risk.”

Carolina did not gauge Darling’s interest prior to the deal, however Francis spoke with his new goaltender following the trade, noting Darling is “genuinely excited” about the opportunity in Raleigh.

Darling has spent the past three years with the Blackhawks. He appeared in 32 games this season, posting a 18-5-5 record alongside a .924 save percentage and 2.38 goals-against average, numbers that put him ahead of both of Carolina’s netminders in 2016-17:

GOALIE GP RECORD GAA SV%
Scott Darling 32 18-5-5 2.38 .924
Cam Ward 61 26-22-12 2.69 .905
Eddie Lack 20 8-7-3 2.64 .902

“(Darling) was more than serviceable in his role in Chicago,” Francis added. “He has been hoping to get the opportunity to be a No. 1 goalie and his numbers indicate he’s capable of being a No. 1 goalie.”

Ward and Lack are both signed through next season, though the Hurricanes will need to expose one of the goaltenders to the Vegas Golden Knights in the upcoming expansion draft.

If neither is chosen by the incoming club, the Hurricanes could look to deal either Ward or Lack to another team in search of insurance between the pipes.

Carolina parted with a third-round draft choice to acquire Darling, one of 11 picks they hold in this summer’s entry draft, including two other third-rounders.

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