The team announced that they signed Darling to a four-year, $16.6 million deal. With that, Darling will generate a $4.15 million cap hit. The 28-year-old’s contract will run through the 2020-21 season.
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that the contract includes a limited no-trade clause.
Carolina sent a third-round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks to get this exclusive window to negotiate with the goalie, so this was a pricey acquisition. It’s also a very proactive move by a franchise that’s really struggled in net for a long time.
“Obviously Scott could have waited until July 1, to see what other options he might have as an unrestricted free agent,” GM Ron Francis said. “But he believes in what we are trying to do here and we are thrilled that he is committing to the Hurricanes and to Raleigh.”
Still some questions to answer
At the moment, Darling joins three goalies under substantial contracts in Carolina, as Cam Ward carries a $3.3 million cap hit and Eddie Lack covers a $2.75 million cap hit in 2017-18. Between possible trades and the expansion draft, the Hurricanes have some work to do to try to remedy that logjam.
Darling’s work in Chicago indicates that he won’t face much of a battle for starts, although it’s plausible that playing for a quality team like the Blackhawks may have given him a boost. (See: Ray Emery in 2012-13.) Even so, it’s a bold move for a team that boasts a lot of the pieces you’d look for in a hopeful contender.