With apparent problems re-signing goalies Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney to new contracts, the Carolina Hurricanes used a trade Monday to acquire goalie Anton Forsberg from the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Canes sent defenseman Calvin de Haan and forward Aleksi Saarela to the Blackhawks for Forsberg and defenseman Gustav Forsling.
De Haan, 28, signed a four-year free-agent contract with Carolina last July that pays him $4.55 million a season, adding a veteran to the Canes’ blue line. But he needed shoulder surgery after the Stanley Cup playoffs, with an expected recovery time of four to six months.
Both Mrazek and McElhinney will become unrestricted free agents July 1 if not signed. General manager Don Waddell has said his goal was to re-sign both before free agency began but has said in the past week that was becoming more problematic.
The Canes still have goalie Scott Darling under contract -- Darling another former Blackhawks backup goaltender who was traded to Carolina in April 2017 and quickly signed a four-year deal.
Forsberg, 26, stated 30 games for the Blackhawks and had a 10-16-4 record with a 2.97 goals-against average and .908 save percentage. It’s possible the Swede could compete with Alex Nedeljkovic -- the 2018-19 AHL goaltender of the year -- for the Canes’ backup spot next season.
Forsberg was a seventh-round draft pick by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2011 and played 10 NHL games in three seasons before last season. He was traded to the Blackhawks in June 2017 in the deal in which Columbus sent forward Brandon Saad, Forsberg and a draft pick to Chicago for forward Artemi Panarin, Tyler Motte and a draft pick.
Forsling, 23, was a fifth-round draft choice by the Vancouver Canucks in 2014. Traded to the Blackhawks in January 2015, he has played 122 NHL games in three seasons with Chicago, with eight goals and 19 assists.
De Haan played 74 regular-season games and 12 playoff games for the Canes this season, finishing with one goal and 13 assists in the regular season. More of a stay-at-home D-man, he gave the Canes calm play in the defensive zone and had a plus-1 rating.
But de Haan missed all but 33 games in the 2017-18 season with the New York Islanders because of a left shoulder injury that required surgery. He now has had the right shoulder surgically repaired.
The Canes also had defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk undergo shoulder surgery after a playoff injury, with the same four-to-six month recovery period. Forsling should compete for a spot in the third defensive pairing along with two former first-round draft picks, Haydn Fleury and Jake Bean.
Saarela scored a career-high 30 goals this past season for the Calder Cup champion Charlotte Checkers, the Canes’ American Hockey League affiliate.
The Canes and Blackhawks have been frequent trade partners in recent years. Among the former Blackhawks sent to the Canes by Chicago were Teuvo Teravainen, Bryan Bickell, Joakim Nordstrom and Kris Versteeg. And Darling.