Another goaltending injury in Carolina will result more changes in Charlotte.
With Hurricanes goaltender Anton Khudobin leaving Sunday’s game against Phoenix with what looked as though it could have been a significant lower-body ailment, the Raleigh News and Observer is reporting that the team will recall Justin Peters from Charlotte. Peters had practiced with the Checkers on Monday while awaiting the result of Khudobin’s MRI.
Update: The Hurricanes made the move official on Monday evening
Though he had not yet heard the news upon leaving the ice, Peters was aware of the situation at hand.
“Obviously it’s scary when someone gets hurt and it’s unfortunate he had to leave the game,” said Peters, who was watching Carolina’s game at the time of Khudobin’s injury. “I’ve been around long enough to know not to expect anything. It’s out of your control, and you can’t worry about it and I can’t let it affect my game or my focus.”
It remains to be seen how long Peters will be in Carolina while Khudobin, who had started three of the team’s first six games, is unable to play. It may not be for as long as initially feared, with General Manager Jim Rutherford calling the MRI results a “best-case scenario,” according to the News and Observer.
A 27-year-old, eighth-year pro, Peters is accustomed to starting the season as the organization’s No. 3 option yet still seeing significant time in the NHL. He’s compiled 47 NHL games over the last four seasons, including 19 last season when he filled in for Cam Ward late in what was an All-Star campaign with Charlotte. During his time with Carolina last season, he went 4-11-1 with a 3.46 goals-against average, .891 save percentage and one shutout.
Losing Peters so early in the season certainly shakes things up for coach Jeff Daniels, who has often cited goaltending as a strength on an otherwise young team that has started without several key players from previous seasons. However, given the events of those seasons – last spring’s playoff starter, Rob Madore, started as Charlotte’s fourth-string goalie – periods of lineup adversity no longer come as a great shock.
“It’s not going to be the first time,” said Daniels. “Whether it’s D or goalies or forwards, we’ve seen it all before. That’s why these guys are here – to prepare to play at the next level, and when they get that chance we’re excited for them.”
With Mike Murphy putting in a very good performance in the Checkers’ last game, a 3-2 win over Oklahoma City on Oct. 5, it’s not as though the team is left empty-handed.
“Petey and Murph are both capable and have proven at this level that they can be the guy,” said Daniels. “That’s why you have two of them – to prepare for these situations.”
The Checkers, a little more than halfway through a 14-day break in the schedule, still have all week to adjust. If they do need to recall a goalie ahead of Saturday’s home opener against the Iowa Wild, the first of back-to-back games, Jesse Deckert, who signed an AHL contract with Charlotte over the summer, is in training camp with ECHL Florida and available if needed.
With both goaltenders on the ice, the Checkers had a full squad on Monday with the exception of forwards Aaron Palushaj and Jared Staal, who Daniels said simply received off days. Manny Malhotra, having spent the last week working back into game speed after missing training camp, had moved up to the second line with Chris Terry and Justin Shugg.