Can former Blackhawks goalie Darling rebound from a season of injury and tragedy?

Now that the Charlotte Checkers have captured the Calder Cup by triumphing over the Chicago Wolves 4 games to 1, Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell can focus on a pressing issue that will greatly affect the future of both franchises.

And that’s what to do with his goalie situation.

The Hurricanes thought they’d found their NHL goaltender of the future when they signed former Blackhawks netminder Scott Darling to a four-year, $16.6 million deal in 2017.

But Darling struggled mightily in his first season in Carolina and eventually lost his starting job to veteran Cam Ward.

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Last off-season, Darling refocused and set his sights on reclaiming the No. 1 job, only to tweak a hamstring during the Hurricanes’ final preseason game.

It was the beginning of a long, painful — and sad — season for Darling, whose father drowned in May in Lakeland, Tennessee. Scott Darling Sr. Wholesale nhl jerseys
was 56 years old.

“I talked to him the day after I heard because he was going to come back before to Raleigh,” Waddell said last week at the Allstate Arena. “I said, ‘You come back when you’re able to come back.'”

A Hurricanes public relations official preferred not to ask a still-grieving Darling for an interview.

Darling played just eight games for Carolina this season, going 2-4-2 with a 3.34 goals-against average. One of those wins came when he made 35 saves against the Blackhawks at the United Center on Nov. 8.

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