Following the goalie's trade from the Blackhawks on Friday, Darling's agent will have preliminary contract discussions with Hurricanes GM Ron Francis next week, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. "Obviously we'd like to get something done sooner rather than later," Francis said.
With the Hurricanes missing the playoffs for the eighth straight year, Francis indicated that his focus this offseason will be improving the goaltending, and evidently it starts with reeling in Darling. The 28-year-old spent his first three seasons in Chicago, steadily increasing his workload over that time. He posted a 39-17-9 record, 2.37 GAA, .923 save percentage, and four shutouts as the understudy to Corey Crawford. Netminder Cam Ward has been with the Hurricanes for 12 years, but he's banking an unsustainable $6.3 million per season and could finally be on his way out as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2018. Of course, Carolina also has Eddie Lack as an option between the pipes, but his contract will expire at the same time as Ward's, and the former Canuck has done very little to inspire confidence in team brass -- all of this bodes well for Darling and his fantasy prospects.