It’s not surprising that the Caps identified former Carolina goaltender Justin Peters as a guy they’d be interested in when the NHL’s annual free agency market opened for business at noon on Tuesday. Peters has recorded four of his 22 career NHL victories and two of his three shutouts at Washington’s expense. He’s also coming off his best season in the NHL.
The Caps brought the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Peters into their own fold on Tuesday, inking the 27-year-old Blyth, Ontario native to a two-year contract worth a total of $1.9 million. Peters’ annual salary cap hit will be $950,000.
Peters was a second-round (38th overall) choice of the Hurricanes in the 2004 NHL Draft. Until today, he had spent the entirety of his NHL career with the Hurricanes.
After finishing his junior career in the OHL, Peters began his pro journey at the age of 20 with the AHL Albany River Rats in 2006-07. He also spent some time with the ECHL Florida Everblades during his first two professional seasons.
Peters has seen action with the Hurricanes in each of the last five seasons, but has spent only one entire seasons in the NHL (2010-11). Lifetime, Peters has a 22-31-8 record in the NHL along with a .904 save pct. and a 3.05 GAA. But he set career highs in virtually every category last season, posting a 7-9-4 mark in 21 games with a .919 save pct. and a 2.50 GAA.
Peters started last season on the roster of the AHL Charlotte Checkers but was recalled on an emergency basis when Anton Khudobin suffered a lower body injury in October. When veteran Cam Ward also went down with an injury 10 days later, Peters found himself in the midst of his busiest stretch as an NHL goaltender.
From Oct. 24 through Nov. 16, Peters appeared in a dozen straight games, the last 11 of which were starts. He got off to a sluggish 0-5 start in his first five appearances, but went 7-4-4 the rest of the way with a 2.19 GAA and a .928 save pct.
Once Khudobin and Ward were both back in action after the turn of the calendar, Peters wasn’t needed in Raleigh. He appeared in just one NHL game after Dec. 27, and he became the odd man out in a three-goalie setup. Peters was eventually loaned back to the Checkers on Feb. 19.
Peters was one of nine different goaltenders to see action for Charlotte last season. He went 4-1-1 in six games with the Checkers, posting a 2.13 GAA and a .932 save pct.
Lifetime against the Capitals, Peters is 4-3 in seven games with two shutouts, a 1.67 GAA and a .938 save pct. He surrendered just six even-strength goals in 395 career minutes of work against Washington. In three career starts at Verizon Center, Peters is 2-1 with a shutout, a 1.01 GAA and a .964 save pct.
Peters’ brother Alex was drafted into the Dallas Stars’ organization over this past weekend in Philadelphia during the 2014 NHL Draft. Alex Peters was a third-round (75th overall) choice of the Stars.