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Rick DiPietro signs with Carolina Hurricanes’ AHL team for tryout

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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There’s a gigantic, Costco-sized load of irony in Rick DiPietro getting another shot at the NHL because a team’s overpaid starting goalie can’t stay healthy ...

Getting past that, it’s great to hear the maligned former New York Islanders goalie has signed a professional tryout contract with the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League, the top minor league affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes lost goalie Cam Ward for up to a month with a “lower body injury” and have backup Anton Khudobin on the mend as well. For Ward, it’s his second significant injury in two seasons.

The injuries exposed how thin the Canes are at the position organizationally, as Justin Peters hasn’t proven to be a dependable NHL option.

"It's a safety net and could give us more depth,” Canes GM Jim Rutherford told Chip Alexander. “At this point it's a PTO. We'll see what kind of shape he's in, how he plays."

The Checkers have been on a bit of a goaltending binge lately, adding ECHL netminders John Muse and Allen York (formerly of the Columbus Blue Jackets) to tryout contracts as well.

(Manny Malhotra is also down in Charlotte on a PTO; pretty genius move having half your roster perpetually “trying out”, or so it seems.)

DiPietro had his infamous 15-year, $67.5 million deal with the New York Islanders bought out in July, and he’ll be given $1.5 million annually for the next 16 years from the Islanders.

So this situation is kinda like how all of us wonder if we’d still come to work if we hit the Powerball. DiPietro still has the fire, and trained all summer with Matt Nichol of Biosteel this summer, trying to improve his fitness and flexibility.

Over the last five seasons, injuries held DiPietro to just 50 games in goal. His last NHL game was Feb. 19, 2013. In 18 games with the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers last season, DiPietro was 9-9-0, with a 2.93 goal against average and .893 save percentage.

Like we’ve always said: The moment Rick DiPietro puts it together in the NHL, the jokes end and the love-in begins. If that ever happens. Carolina’s given it a chance, at the very least.

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