RALEIGH, NC - Over the last two days we've taken a look at the skaters on the Carolina Hurricanes roster, sharing our thoughts on who can and will bring what to the team this season.
Breaking Down the Canes: The Blue Line
Breaking Down the Canes: The Forward Group
Now it's time to glance at the last line of defense.
Rod Brind'Amour officially stated after Wednesday's practice that Frederik Andersen will lead the team out onto the ice tomorrow night.
Denmark's projected starting goalie for the 2022 Beijing Olympics, Andersen comes to Carolina after a five-year stint in Toronto. That market, especially given the current climate, comes with a lot of pressure to win, something that the franchise came up short on during that time. He did play in 25 playoff games over the course of his time up north, but at the end of the day, the team's ultimate goal was not achieved.
Now, a fresh start in Raleigh.
Andersen turned 32 earlier this month, but don't tell him that he's approaching the tail end of his playing days. In his meeting with the media during training camp, he was succinct and meaningful with his words.
"I definitely believe some of my best hockey is still in front of me," he said. "There's a long list of goalies that have a better latter part of their career, especially you get more experience and if you're able to stay healthy. That's definitely a goal of mine, to keep going and to keep getting better."
He'll have the opportunity to do that now here, and he'll have some push right alongside him, as his counterpart pushes for that same agenda.
Also age 32, Raanta, like Andersen comes to North Carolina after a multi-year stint with another organization. Spending the last four campaigns in Arizona, "Father Fin" has posted some outstanding numbers, when healthy, on a team that has struggled to win. The ability to stay healthy is obviously the big asterisk for Raanta and injuries are not something that can come predicted, at least in terms of exact timing. So, for now, why not take the approach of hoping for a version of him that's 100 percent? He is.
"It's just about being consistent," Raanta said about his aspirations of having a big year. "If you can play your game, be calm in the net and make those saves when you need to, that's going to be enough. The team is so good in front of us, it's just about being consistent and being confident behind those guys. That's going to be enough for many wins this year."
Hopefully a renewed outlook for the ninth year NHL netminder, his head coach has stated that both goaltenders are going to play this season, simply because that's the way the schedule breaks down. It could come down to who is on a hot streak, so regardless of who has the green light out of the gate, both are going to be needed.
Next Man Up:
Should something unfortunate happen to either Andersen or Raanta and the Canes need to make a recall for a netminder to that will play games, Alex Lyon is going to be the guy - at least to start. Coming off a season in which he spent almost the entirety of it being the Philadelphia Flyers third netminder, Lyon's looking forward to playing consistent games again. Dressing in just ten total games last year between the Flyers and their American Hockey League affiliate in Lehigh Valley (PA), Lyon's shown flashes of ability to play at the highest level before in his career.
Whether he's been given a fair shot to show it for an actual period of time is something that's argued about by those who have followed his career closely. Over the course of six seasons in Lehigh Valley (AHL), he has backstopped his team to points in 97 of his 149 appearances. His accumulated save percentage (SV%) is .913.
Heck, one game he even made 94 (!!!) saves, playing the star role for his Phantoms team as they defeated Charlotte in the longest game in AHL history in 2018.
There's plenty of reason to feel as if the Canes have another strong option in net, again, should something happen to either of the first two options.