John Muse is returning to Charlotte for a fourth season.
The Checkers announced Tuesday that they’ve agreed to terms on an AHL contract with the 25-year-old goaltender who became the franchise’s all-time wins leader last season. Since turning pro in 2011 following a four-year career at Boston College, Muse has played for the Checkers on an AHL contract, an NHL contract with Carolina and, last season, a professional tryout contract after starting at the ECHL level.
With Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin expected to form the starting NHL tandem in Carolina, Muse and recent free-agent signing Drew MacIntyre would give the Checkers two experienced options. That would likely push incoming rookie Daniel Altshuller, the Hurricanes’ third-round pick in 2012, to ECHL Florida to start the season, though goalies that start the season in that role have a tendency to become important to Charlotte’s plans as seasons progress.
Muse is a perfect example of that, having started all three of his professional seasons at the ECHL level before working his way to Charlotte each time. After playing just one game with the ECHL’s Fort Wayne Komets last season, Muse joined the Checkers in October following injuries to Ward and Khudobin in Carolina. A two-time AHL Player of the Week, he went on to rank fourth in the AHL and set a new club record with 27 victories, while the other eight goaltenders the team used combined for just 10.
In addition to his team record of 45 wins, Muse ranks second behind Mike Murphy with 79 games played, posting a 2.64 goals-against average and .916 save percentage along the way. He and Justin Peters are tied for the club record in shutouts with seven each. The 2012 Kelly Cup MVP as he led the Florida Everblades to their first-ever ECHL championship, Muse also captured a pair of national titles at Boston College.