For the third time in less than two months, a Carolina Hurricanes goaltender is joining the Checkers on a conditioning stint.
Following in the footsteps of Anton Khudobin and Cam Ward, Justin Peters will be the latest to make a cameo with Charlotte as the Hurricanes, who continue to juggle three goaltenders, assigned him to their AHL affiliate on Wednesday. Carolina is set to resume practices this Thursday, though it will obviously do so without the services of its Olympic players.
Compared to Khudobin and Ward, Peters is much more familiar to Charlotte, having played parts of the last three seasons with the Checkers. That includes his opening-night start this season, which would be his last AHL game until an injury to Khudobin brought him to the NHL on Oct. 14.
This assignment could come at an opportune time for the Checkers, who saw John Muse leave Tuesday’s game against Norfolk due to injury. Coach Jeff Daniels was not able to provide an update on Muse’s condition after the game and the team did not practice on Wednesday.
Given the situation in Carolina, it’s possible that Peters could stay with Charlotte for more than just a short weekend stint similar to the ones completed by Khudobin and Ward. At the very least, the Checkers play games at Texas this Friday and Saturday before the Hurricanes return to action on Tuesday. At the most, he could stay up to 14 consecutive days per the NHL’s CBA – a span that covers six Checkers games and the first two legs of their franchise-record, 10-game road swing.
Peters has not played at any level since Jan. 19, having either backed up or sat out entirely as a healthy extra with Carolina during that time. Since all three of their goaltenders became available, the Hurricanes have been unwilling to expose Peters to waivers, a necessity to send him on a more permanent assignment to Charlotte, due to his excellent performances while serving as the team’s starter in October and November.
A 27-year-old veteran in his eighth professional season, Peters is 7-9-4 with a 2.50 goals-against average, .919 save percentage and one shutout in the NHL this season. In his lone Checkers game, he made 32 saves to defeat the Oklahoma City Barons on Oct. 4.
A two-time AHL All-Star, Peters is Charlotte’s all-time leader with seven shutouts and ranks second on the team’s all-time list with 66 games played. In 214 career AHL games with Albany and Charlotte, he is 95-94-9 with a 2.73 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and 13 shutouts. The Hurricanes’ first-round draft pick in 2002 has played his entire career with the Carolina organization, earning a total of 68 NHL games.