Blackhawks trade Darling to Carolina in exchange for draft pick

Darling, who signed with the Hawks in July 2014, earned the chance to become a team's top goaltender thanks to his performance as Crawford's backup the last three seasons. Carolina's other two third-round picks (their own and New Jersey's) will come before the Ottawa pick that now belongs to Chicago.

Francis said he would begin preliminary talks with Matt Keator, Darling's agent, early next week.

The Blackhawks announced the trade in a statement saying the third round pick was "previously acquired by Carolina from the Ottawa Senators".

"Scott had a very successful season in Chicago and was a big part of the Blackhawks finishing with the best record in the Western Conference", said Ron Francis, Carolina's Executive Vice President and General Manager.

Darling has served as Corey Crawford's backup with the Blackhawks but again put up impressive numbers this season - an 18-5-5 record, with a 2.38 goals-against average and a.924 save percentage in 32 games played. "He played a critical role on Chicago's 2015 championship team". Originally drafted by the Coyotes in the sixth round, 153rd overall, in the 2007 NHL Draft, Darling played two seasons at the University of ME before turning professional. He played a game in Central Hockey League and then jumped full-time to the ECHL (hockey's version of Double-A) before getting a chance in the American Hockey League in 2013-14 with the Milwaukee Admirals. Carolina has to sign him before July 1st or he becomes a free agent but they will likely do that and allow either Cam Ward or Eddie Lack go for the pickings, either way, they just got a lot strong in net. One way around that might be using another of their 10 remaining 2017 draft picks to convince the Vegas Golden Knights to choose one of their goalies in the June 22 expansion draft. Why not an improving Carolina team, which if it doesn't end this eight-year playoff drought next season probably never will? He went on to start 4 games in the postseason, posting a 3-1 record.

The move addresses arguably the Canes' greatest weakness last season, as the team gave up the 13th-most goals against per game last season at 2.80, and ranked 26th with a.901 team save percentage. Lack went on to go 4-1-1 in his next six starts, pushing Carolina to the edge of the playoff race, but suffered a neck strain in the final game in that stretch following a collision on the Red Wings' overtime victor.

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