Despite their 1-2-2 start and blowing two 3 goal leads, I’ve liked what I’ve seen from the Hurricanes. They have scored 16 goals in their 5 games. They’ve had both a dominant power-play and penalty-kill. The Skinner-Rask-Stempniak line has exceeded expectations in the early going. Aho and Teravainen have brought some much needed skill and production, as well. Stalberg and Bickell have done the same for the fourth line. They are the only team to have not played at home yet due to the NC State Fair, and if they go home 2-2-2, I’ll call it a successful road trip.
There’s one thing holding them back and keeping them from a 3-2 or 4-1 start, however. That is goaltending. I’ve said before that Lack and Ward have both shown elite abilities; just look at December and on last season. Problem is that they can be inconsistent. So far, they’ve allowed 20 goals in 5 games this season, an average of 4 goals allowed a game. Now, the 3 goal leads blown are also due to the youth and many new players on the team, but, at the same time, they couldn’t get that big save in the third to give them that win in either game. In the loss to Edmonton, Ward did make those big saves, but a soft goal early cost them. In the loss against the Flyers, there were about 3 or 4 goals that could’ve been stopped. If the Canes are going to make the playoffs, the goalies will either need to get it together earlier than December, or Carolina will need to make a trade for someone like Bishop or Fleury. The 21 skaters make up a very dangerous team, but they won’t get anywhere without solid netminding.
Say the Hurricanes were to acquire Bishop or Fleury, or maybe Crawford if Chicago decided to stick with Darling, who could they give up? Carolina has a deep defensive prospect pool. Maybe they’d think about giving up one of those defensive prospects with a high draft pick? I would think they would have to give up one of their goalies, though. I’m not sure it’s possible to buy out one of them, and sending them down just isn’t a viable option. I’d personally give up Lack in a package with a high draft pick for one of the goalies aforementioned. Lack just hasn’t live up to expectations overall, and trading Ward doesn’t seem possible at this point. I think he’s been the better of the two, anyway.
Whether it’s trading for a goalie or Ward and Lack tightening up sooner rather than later, the Canes will need solid goaltending. They are a sure playoff contender if they get it.