We’ve been looking at the state of each position for the Carolina Hurricanes this week, and now we’ve reached the one with by far the most offseason turnover: goalie.
The Canes completely cleaned house and reloaded between the pipes, which has been well documented at this point. Gone are Petr Mrazek, Alex Nedeljkovic and James Reimer. In are Frederik Andersen, Antti Raanta and an organizational depth guy in Alex Lyon.
It’s hard to know what to expect from the new Canes’ goalie room, and there’s plenty of risk that was brought in. Can Antti Raanta stay healthy? Can Frederik Andersen return to past form? The Canes will be hoping that the answer to both of those questions is yes, but only time will tell.
With that, let’s take a look at the state of the goaltending position for the Hurricanes:
2020-21 Stats: 24 GP, 23 GS, 13-8-3, 2.96 GAA, .895 SV%, -8.5 Goals Saved Above Average
Career Stats: 8 years, 393 GP, 381 GS, 226-100-48, 2.65 GAA, .915 SV%, 36.5 GSAA
The big-money free-agent signing at goalie for the Canes was Andersen, a former Carolina draft pick who signed a two-year, $9-million contract with the Canes.
At his best, Andersen has had seasons where he has been one of the better goalies in the league. He was on the All-Rookie team his first year in the league, and he’s twice finished in the top 10 in Vezina voting.
The risk for the Canes comes in the fact that Andersen hasn’t quite been at his best in some time. His numbers have consistently been going down for the last four seasons, and his limited action in 2020-21 was frankly pretty bad.
Can Andersen be the goalie, or at least somewhat the goalie, that he was from 2016-18? That’s what the Canes, and Andersen, are waiting to find out. He’s a high-risk, high-reward guy that Carolina is taking a chance on.
2020-21 Stats: 12 GP, 11 GS, 5-5-2, 3.36 GAA, .905 SV%, -1.1 GSAA
Career Stats: 8 years, 198 GP, 179 GS, 93-65-20, 2.46 GAA, .919 SV%, 39.8 GSAA
The numbers are more consistent for Raanta than they are with Andersen, but there’s concerns with his injury history and durability.
Raanta, who the Canes signed to a two-year, $4-million contract, is an eight-year NHL veteran, but he played in more than 30 games in a season just twice in his career. He missed a good chunk of 2020-21 with injury for not the first time in his career.
His numbers though are very good. In seasons where Raanta has played more than 15 games, he’s never had a GAA higher than 2.71 and has had a save percentage greater than .900 in all but his rookie season.
His goals saved above average has been positive all but three years in his career, with those three seasons being his rookie year and two injury shortened years where he played just 12 games.
If Raanta can stay healthy, he has the abilities to be a solid 1B, even 1A goalkeeper in the NHL. In tandem with a reinvigorated Andersen, these two could make a splash for the Canes.
2020-21 Stats (NHL): 6 GP, 5 GS, 1-3-1, 3.33 GAA, .893 SV%
2020-21 Stats (AHL): 4 GP, 2-1-0, 3.40 GAA, .874 SV%
Career Stats (NHL): 4 years, 22 GP, 15 GS, 6-7-2, 3.21 GAA, .893 SV%, -8.6 GSAA
A clear organizational depth piece, Lyon signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Hurricanes this offseason.
He’ll head to Chicago to play with the Wolves, barring an injury to Raanta or Andersen, where he’ll likely be the Canes top option to come up to the NHL team if either of the other two sustain injuries throughout the season.
Lyon has some NHL experience, with 22 games played over the past four years. He played 11 games in 2017-18, two in 2018-19, three in 2019-20 and then six in 2020-21. His career numbers aren’t great, but that comes with the caveat of limited sample size and no real extended opportunity to get his NHL footing.
If all goes according to plan, Lyon won’t play with the Hurricanes this season. That, of course, is unlikely, and when the Canes do need to call on someone, they have a guy with some experience at the top level in Lyon.
The Canes have three more organizational goalies under contract in Eetu Makiniemi, Pyotr Kochetkov and Beck Warm, though the overwhelming hope will be that none of them play a minute for the NHL team this season.
None of the three have NHL experience under their belt, though Warm did spend some time on the Canes’ taxi squad last year.
Kochetkov was the Canes’ second-round pick back in 2019, while Makiniemi was picked by the team in the fourth round in 2017. There could be a future with the Canes for either one, though that future isn’t likely to happen anytime in the next couple years.