Advantage, Cam: Ward to start ‘Canes season-opener

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Cam Ward has won the opening round in the fight for Carolina’s starting gig.

Ward will be in net for the ‘Canes first game of the year on Friday against the Islanders, head coach Bill Peters has announced. The decision comes after an exhibition campaign in which Ward and Anton Khudobin — the other goalie vying for the No. 1 gig — split time almost equally, with Ward putting forther the superior performance.

That the pair split time in the preseason doesn’t really mean much for the regular season, though, because Peters want one of them to eventually win the job.

While the rookie bench boss said he would likely use a platoon to start the year — with just two home games in October, the ‘Canes will need both guys to play — the long-term outlook is for a clear-cut starter to emerge.

From the Raleigh News & Observer:

Peters said from the start of camp ideally he’d like one goalie to clearly win the No. 1 spot and possibly start about 60 games.

“I think they both came in wanting to be the No. 1 guy and they’ve both pushed each other,” Peters said.

Ward had the better outings in preseason, but the Canes’ chances of getting back to the playoffs might rest on how well Ward and Khudobin continue to push and perform.

The underlying issue in this goaltending battle is, of course, the disparity in salaries. Ward will be paid $6.7 million this season while Khudobin is under contract for $2M.