I’ve assigned grades to the forwards and defensemen, and now it’s time for the netminders! It was certainly an interesting year in the blue paintFor the second time in as many years, Cam Ward did not lead the team in games played, but for the first time since 2006, his spot as #1 goalie on the team was seriously challenged.
Justin Peters: C+
Despite what certain owners of a certain team that I have season tickets for might think, the lack of Cam and Anton in the lineup for a stretch didn’t doom this team. Getting the bulk of his 21 games in November and December, Justin Peters posted a 7-9-4 record this season. His GAA of 2.50 was 27th in the NHL among goalies with at least 20 games played, and his save percentage of .919 was good for 22nd. While he helped keep the ship afloat in the last 2 months of 2013, Peters lost his last 4 starts, including getting pulled against Tampa Bay on 1/19; with 30 and 31 back healthy, that game would end up being the last action that Justin Peters would see this season. At least we can take solace in the fact that one time he was pulled late in the game and 28 was on the ice for the extra man: That’s right, the Carolina Hurricanes pulled Peters and got Semin on the ice.
Anton Khudobin: A+
When Khudobin was signed to a one-year, $800k deal last offseason, many of us thought he had a chance to give Cam some competition. Little did we know at the time that he’d give Cam extra time to watch hockey games. He was impressive all year with very active feet, good rebound control, and very rarely being out of position (save for that time he thought he was a forward and injured himself). Khudobin finished the year 5th in the NHL with a .926 save percentage, and was t-12 in GAA at 2.30. I’d call that one hell of a year, especially considering all 4 goalies with a better save percentage (Harding, Rask, Varlamov, Price) are all on playoff teams (MIN, BOS, COL, MTL). Until the final 2 games of the season, Anton had not yielded more than 4 goals all season, and allowed 4 goals only 1 time. Thank all things holy that he’s signed here for 2 more seasons!
Cam Ward: F
(Must keep Cam’s exit interview separate from his play… must keep keep Cam’s exit interview separate from his play) I hope you’re all sitting down to read this, but Cam Ward was awful this season. There, I said it. For the second consecutive season, injuries cost Cam significant time in net, but this season, Anton Khudobin had established a firm grasp on the #1 role when Ward returned. Finishing the year with a .898 save percentage (good for 47th out of 51 goalies) and a 3.06 GAA (hey, ALSO good for 47th), Cam was never able to find the rhythm in net this season. It’s probably because he didn’t get the opportunity to start a lot of games like he had in years past though, right? Wait a minute though… wasn’t there an 8-game stretch from Thanksgiving to New Year’s where he never had a save percentage above .900? Yeah, he should’ve had more of an opportunity to play
poorly. The only 3 goalies with a lower GAA and save percentage were Reto Berra, Kevin Poulin, and Devan Dubnyk. Those 3 combined made over one million dollars less than Cam did this year. Good luck convincing me that all of the above numbers add up to anything better than a failing grade.
That’s all for my grades for the Carolina Hurricanes this season. What letter grades would you give the goalies?