Giving Him A Little Exposure…

The Carolina Hurricanes announced that they recalled veteran goaltender Arturs Irbe from the minors.

According to Jim Rutherford, team GM, he is expected to play within a week from now.

Read the full article inside…Sportsnet.ca

Veteran goalie Irbe returns to Hurricanes after exile to minor league

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Carolina is bringing back goalie Arturs Irbe, who led the team to the 2002 Stanley Cup final and shouldered the much of the blame when the Hurricanes recorded the fewest points in the NHL last season.

Irbe, 37, has spent this season in the East Coast Hockey League with the Johnstown Chiefs after refusing a $1.8-million US buyout of his two-year, $5.2-million contract. Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford told The News & Observer on Tuesday night he expects Irbe to play within the next week.

“We want to keep all our options open going forward based on the situation we’re in now,” Rutherford said.

The Hurricanes are 13th in the Eastern Conference, 15 points out of a playoff spot with 24 games remaining.

Irbe will back up starter Kevin Weekes. Rutherford said he planned to meet Wednesday with Jamie Storr, the current backup.

Since he joined the Hurricanes in October, Storr is 0-8-2 with a 2.91 goals-against average in 14 appearances.

Irbe, a native of Latvia and a former Olympian, was 10-8 in 18 games in 2002 when the Hurricanes made a surprising run to the Stanley Cup final. Weekes was tapped as the starter the following season, and Irbe split his time between Lowell of the American Hockey League, the Hurricane’s top minor-league affiliate, and Carolina.

He had a 7-24-2 record in 34 NHL games last season and a 3.18 GAA.

Irbe was 9-3-1 this season with Johnston with a 1.98 GAA. His .931 save percentage ranks fourth in that league this season.

He is Carolina’s career leader in games played by a goalie (299), wins (125) and shutouts (20).

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My take on this: It’s obvious that the Canes expect that Irbe will perform well, in order for a team to bite and trade for him. Any team looking for a veteran backup and going into the playoffs could be interested in Irbe. Team like Colorado or Nashville could very well give a call to Rutherford.

The canes won’t ask much for his services as they just want to get rid of him. It’s clear that Irbe could be a cheap and much more affordable option than goalies like Olaf Kolzig or Nikolai Khabibulin. I wouldn’t be surprised, given that Irbe shows he still can do the job in the next weeks, that he’ll be traded somewhere.

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