Earlier today, I mentioned that newly signed goalie Manny Legace had played in Springfield and was part of an infamous event that led to a 10-game suspension. One of his teammates on that team? Current Albany River Rats head coach/general manager Jeff Daniels.
Daniels, a former Whaler and Hurricane, spent parts of two seasons — 1995-96 and 1996-97 — in Springfield, both with Legace. So he's a pretty good authority on what the newest Carolina Hurricanes goalie is capable of.
"He's a veteran goalie," Daniels said. "He's not nervous, and he has a history of getting hot."
"Hot" is certainly something the Canes could use right now, given their 12-game slide and descent to the bottom of the NHL standings, and the addition of a veteran goalie to help backup Michael Leighton shoulder the load probably gives the team the best chance to turn around their season without injured Cam Ward. It also will give Justin Peters, Daniels' No. 1 goalie in Albany, the playing time he needs to develop.
Daniels said he was not consulted by the team as to whether he felt Peters was ready to assume a role in Carolina, but Carolina GM Jim Rutherford’s quick attention to the goaltender depth situation points to the Carolina brass wanting Peters go see the ice in Albany.
" I know it's a big year for Justin," Daniels said.
Daniels has already seen Carolina recall some of his players, the biggest loss being center Brandon Sutter, who has the look of a player who will stick in the NHL this time around ("I've heard he's playing really well," Daniels said). But forward Zach Boychuk was returned to the River Rats Sunday, and Jay Harrison cleared waivers and joined the AHL team Nov. 3, providing more defensive depth with blueline anchor Brett Carson still out with a broken wrist and Casey Borer still recovering from September neck surgery.
But in Year 2 of Carolina's full affiliation with Albany, Daniels’ team can better handle the fluctuation that comes with being an AHL team.
"We have a little more depth than we had last year," Daniels said.