The Carolina Hurricanes placed goaltender Scott Darling on waivers on Thursday. Darling signed a four-year deal with Hurricanes prior to the 2017-18 season that carries a $4.15-million cap hit.
As a Hurricane, Darling has failed to replicate the short-term success he experienced over parts of two seasons with the Blackhawks. Since the start of the 2017-18 season, Darling has posted an .889 SV% and 3.17 GAA. His record sits at a lowly 2-4-1 through seven starts this season. Combined with his own poor play, Darling’s been made expendable by the stellar play of journeyman-netminder Curtis McElhinney.
Claimed on waivers from the Maple Leafs prior to the start of the season, McElhinney has done nothing but perform as a Hurricane. He’s posted a 7-2-0 record with a .930 SV% and 2.12 GAA. He’s won his last four starts, allowing just five goals over that span. As it stands right now, the 35-year-old is the undisputed starting goalie for the Canes.
Petr Mrazek hasn’t found any more success than Darling this season, but he will remain with the team as the backup for the time being. He’s posted an .880 SV% and 2.75 GAA through his first eight games as a Hurricane. With a cap-hit of just $1.5-million, Mrazek is far more likely to be claimed on waivers than Darling and would bring less cap-relief to Carolina. Combined with McElhinney’s cap-hit of $0.85-million, Carolina now has less than $2.5-million in cap space dedicated to their two goaltenders.
In addition to Darling, Carolina also placed forward Valentin Zykov on waivers. A former second-round pick of the Kings in 2013, Zykov flashed some promise in a ten-game stint last season, picking up three goals and four assists. He even saw time on the Canes’ top power-play unit to start this season but quickly fell out of favour with head coach Bill Peters.
Carolina will take on Anaheim at home on Friday, presumably with McElhinney in goal.