After serving as Corey Crawford’s backup in Chicago the last two seasons, Scott Darling may finally have a chance to be the No. 1 goalie.
The 28-year-old Darling, a former University of Maine goaltender, has been signed to a 4-year, $16.6 million contract by the Carolina Hurricanes, the team announced.
The Hurricanes acquired the Lamont, Illinois, native from the Blackhawks on April 29 in exchange for a third-round draft pick from the Ottawa Senators.
“Obviously Scott could have waited until July 1 to see what other options he might have as an unrestricted free agent,” Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis said in a statement posted on the team’s website on Friday, “but he believes in what we are trying to do here and we are thrilled that he is committing to the Hurricanes and to Raleigh.”
The 6-foot-6, 232-pound Darling posted an 18-5-5 record in 32 games and a career-high 27 starts for Chicago this season, recording a 2.38 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage.
His save percentage ranked tied for fourth among NHL goalies who started more than 25 games.
In the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs, Darling went 3-1 in five first-round appearances in helping Chicago win its third championship in six years.
Originally a draft choice of the Phoenix Coyotes, Darling played two seasons at UMaine.
He overcame troubles with alcohol and anxiety in turning his career around, bouncing around several professional leagues, including the Southern Professional Hockey League, the ECHL and the Central Hockey League before making it to the American Hockey League and eventually the NHL.
Darling will try to help turn around a Carolina team that finished seventh in the eight-team Metropolitan Division last season.
This story was corrected on May 10, 2017, to correct Darling’s contract terms.