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S14 - Whalers Add Hackett (®)

2019-11-30

In their first (of many) moves of the offseason, the Hartford Whalers have acquired what may be a potential replacement for local legend, Ed Belfour.  With Belfour not signing a contract with the Whalers prior to the start of the playoffs, it became assured that he would become a free agent in the offseason.  What was speculated, and turned out to be incorrect was his desire to remain in the league. Rather than retiring, the thirty-eight year old veteran will be looking for a new contract to continue his playing career in the VHL, just where that is will ultimately be his decision as there will be multiple teams bidding for his services.

With Belfour (at least temporarily) not in the picture for the Whalers, the club decided to act and made a very low risk move, acquiring Jeff Hackett.  It is no secret that Hackett was on his way out of the nation's capital, as the club is already well above the salary cap for the coming season. With Hackett and his $4.35M contract, there was just no room for him on the roster, if it wasn’t a trade, Hackett was simply going to be released, a chance the Whalers didn’t want to take.

In Hackett, the Whalers get a goaltender that has been league average at best during his entire career in the VHL with career numbers totalling a 3.08 goals against average and a save percentage of .894.  Perhaps the silver lining for Whaler fans is Hackett has never had the luxury of playing behind a quality team like he will have with the Whalers. In Hartford, he will not have to make every save, just the ones he is supposed to, a relief for a guy that has sub-optimal defenses in front of him over the last handful of years.

“Getting Jeff for a very low cost was a bit of a no-brainer for us.  With Ed (Belfour) moving on and into free agency, we had a bit of a hole to fill within our roster.  We think Jeff can come in and provide us with some good saves and really allow us to not miss much of a beat in terms of team success.”

With free agency and the draft on the very near horizon, the Whalers will be sure to be making multiple more moves prior to the very next puck drop.  With about $9M in current cap space, the Whalers can be players in negotiations with potential additions to the roster, where they will look to be adding to the clubs backend and goaltending depth.  Should the Whalers strike out in landing one of the few top goaltending options, at least now they have Hackett in the fold.