James Reimer is now a member of the Carolina Hurricanes and Scott Darling, now a member of the Florida Panthers, will be bought out by his new team after a trade was made on Sunday.
The Panthers also get a 2020 sixth-round pick in the deal and don’t retain any of Reimer’s $3.4 million cap hit. Darling has been put on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying out his contract. If unclaimed, that will become official tomorrow.
The Hurricanes, meanwhile, get a goalie under contract with both Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney pending unrestricted free agents heading into tomorrow’s free agent frenzy. GM Don Waddell has an insurance policy if they can’t re-sign one or both of the tandem that helped lead the team to the Eastern Conference Final last year.
[ProHockeyTalk’s 2019 NHL free agency tracker]
The deal seems to include some creative finagling between both clubs. As Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports, the Panthers had struggled to move Reimer due to a signing bonus of $2.25 million owed to the goalie next year.
This way, the Panthers won’t owe that cash to Reimer, a move that will net them just over $3 million in savings, according to TSN’s Frank Seravalli. They would have spent more buying out Reimer, so it works out.
For Florida, the move appears to pave the way for Sergei Bobrovsky to join the team as early as Monday when the free agency window opens. Roberto Luongo retired last week and with Reimer gone, the Panthers are in need of a starting netminder.
Darling’s buyout, meanwhile, looks like this, per CapFriendly:
Darling has been anything by his namesake since joining the Hurricanes from the Chicago Blackhawks on a four-year, $16.6 million deal two summers ago.
His numbers as a backup were outstanding, but as a starter in Carolina, he never finished a season above a .890 save percentage. Things didn’t get much better when he was sent down to the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League this past season. The Hurricanes were desperate for a successor to Cam Ward at the time and they took the gamble and lost hard.
Being able to trade him, however, should be looked at as a good thing, especially since they retained none of his salary in the deal.
The Hurricanes have $22 million and a bit of change to head into the free agency window with but that is an artificial figure as they still have to re-sign Sebastian Aho and Gustav Forsling.
As TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports, the Hurricanes are still trying to re-sign Mrazek and have cast a line into Semyon Varlamov‘s camp, as well. Reimer isn’t starting material, but he can be a serviceable backup, with emphasis on the can part.
The Panthers have $25 million to work with some lower-priced restricted free agents to sign to deals. As mentioned above, there’s more than enough room to bring Bob into the fold. Maybe Artemi Panarin too, if they’re lucky.
Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck.