Scott Darling would like to put the 2018-19 season in the rear-view mirror, but for a number of unfortunate reasons it’s a year he’ll never forget.
The goaltender had his contract bought out earlier this week by the Florida Panthers after the Carolina Hurricanes traded him away, meaning his immediate NHL future is a mystery. However, that pales in comparison to the personal loss he has felt since his father passed away in May.
Darling reflected on his past year both on and off the ice in an Instagram post.
“Hockey gives you lots of ups and downs,” the 30-year-old wrote. “To say this year was challenging would be an understatement, but nothing compares to mourning the loss of my father. I will cherish the many memories with my dad this game has provided. He loved the game and loved watching me play.”
After three impressive years as backup with the Chicago Blackhawks — even contributing three playoff wins during that team’s 2015 Stanley Cup championship run — he signed a four-year, $16.6-million contract with the Hurricanes in 2017.
His debut season in Carolina didn’t live up to his $4.15-million annual cap hit, as he went 13-21-7 with a .888 save percentage and 3.18 goals-against average.
The Newport News, Va., native wasn’t able to turn things around in 2018-19, going 2-4-2 with a .884 save percentage and 3.34 goals-against average in eight appearances with the Hurricanes before eventually being placed on waivers and demoted to the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers.
“Thank you to the Carolina Hurricanes and Charlotte Checkers for the opportunity to compete,” Darling added in his post. “My dad and I shared some of our last memories with this organization, ones I will forever cherish. Grateful for my family, close friends, and the hockey community during these past few months who have shown understanding and unconditional support.
“Thanks to the Florida Panthers for the quick stint. Moving forward and very excited for life and opportunities ahead.”
Darling is currently an unrestricted free agent.