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Rick DiPietro signs tryout deal with AHL's Charlotte Checkers


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Rick DiPietro signs tryout deal with AHL's Charlotte Checkers


It sounds like Rick DiPietro will make his triumphant (?) return to professional hockey. According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, DiPietro has signed a professional tryout contract with the Charlotte Checkers, American Hockey League affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes.


The Checkers were in dire need of goaltending depth as the Hurricanes recalled two of the Checkers' three goaltenders to replace the injured Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin.

DiPietro, who was bought out of his 15-year contract by the New York Islanders this offseason, hadn't been able to find work. Now he might get a second chance thanks to a team in desperation mode.

The oft-injured 32-year-old goaltender made 18 starts in the AHL last season after being demoted by the Islanders. He posted a 2.93 goals-against average and .893 save percentage, hardly encouraging marks for an NHL veteran.

DiPietro will join John Muse and Allen York on Charlotte's goaltending depth chart. He'll also join Manny Malhotra, who is playing with the Checkers in hopes of returning to the NHL, where he has 864 career games under his belt, most recently with the Vancouver Canucks.

DiPietro, who was the Islanders' first-overall selection in 2000, may not have anything left in the tank after years of being hobbled by a lot of bad luck, but a PTO is a low-risk maneuver for Charlotte.

A PTO affords the team at least 25 games of a players' services, though that player can be released from a PTO at any time. So how long DiPietro has to prove himself is uncertain, but he's at least got a foot in the door.

Though DiPietro has become more punch line than player lately, everyone deserves a second chance. Without that 15-year deal hanging over his head, who knows what can happen next? Hey, if it doesn't work out, DiPietro is still getting $1.5 million a year from now until 2029 from the Islanders. He'll be just fine.

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Got to see DiPietro play last night. It was his first game since last season and, to my knowledge, he didn't attend a training camp. And he played like it. His team didn't give him much help. He made one save on a puck that squirted through, where he spun himself around and swept it off the goal line. He was run over at least a couple times by San Antonio players but that didn't seem to affect him. San Antonio put 43 shots on DiPietro and he was able to make 38 saves.

Obviously, one game is not enough to really evaluate a play on. That said, I wouldn't expect to see DiPietro get called up to the Canes right away unless there is an injury.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Shame for this guy DiPietro.

He really is a talented goalie that just simply couldn't stay healthy enough to help his former Islanders team...nor live up to the mega contract he was signed to.


In fact, I seem to recall, when DiPietro came on the scene, many comparisons between he and Marty Brodeur were made:


Both could be counted on to carry a team, both were good sized, mobile goalies, both could read opposing rushes and get set accordingly, and both handled the puck in such a way that they were almost like having a third D-man on the ice.


Obviously, the difference in their careers, other than the Devils having deeper defensive teams in front of Brodeur as opposed to the Isles defensively-challenged squads, has been health.


Brodeur had been able to stay on the ice and play, DiPietro has not.


I am hoping DiPietro can stay  healthy enough to get a legitimate shot at an NHL comeback.

Even if it means he spends the rest of the season in the AHL getting his legs back under him, his conditioning, and his gameday reactions back.

If he can manage to stay healthy making a run with the Checkers, chances are his talent could carry him to have either the Canes or some other team calling for his services come 2014-15...really, the guy is only 32, not like he is aged out of the goalie market.


That all said, since his health has been his biggest nemesis, one shouldn't hold their collective breaths that THAT will change anytime soon.

Uphill battle for DiPietro for sure.

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