RALEIGH, N.C. -- Carolina Hurricanes backup goalie Brian Boucher is expected to miss 4-6 months with an unspecified shoulder injury.
General manager Jim Rutherford said Thursday that the former Tri-City Americans star was injured within the past week and is scheduled to have surgery to repair it, but did not say which shoulder was injured.
The injury clouds Carolina's goaltending situation with free agency starting Sunday. Boucher, 35, is entering the second year of a two-year, $1.9 million contract he signed last summer to back up Cam Ward.
"We're going to have to go out and find a guy that can fill that spot," coach Kirk Muller said following Day 2 of the team's four-day rookie conditioning camp. "In a perfect world, if we get Cam playing 60-plus games, we need a guy that can step in and feel confident that we can win hockey games."
One option could be Justin Peters, Ward's top backup in 2010-11 who spent most of last season getting regular playing time with the Hurricanes' AHL affiliate in Charlotte. He is due to become an unrestricted free agent. Carolina also could try to acquire a veteran from another club.
A groin injury suffered midway through last season cost Boucher 43 games and limited him to just eight starts and 10 total appearances. He finished 1-7 with a 3.41 goals-against average.