"We're trying to sign them, but it doesn't look like we're going to get either signed," Waddell said Tuesday, according to NHL.com's Tom Gulitti. "So, if not, we'll go to the market and see what's out there for July 1."
The goaltending duo shared the workload last season while helping the Canes secure a wild-card spot. Mrazek took over the starting role during the team's improbable playoff run to the Eastern Conference Final until leaving Game 2 of the second round with an injury. McElhinney stepped in to complete the sweep of the New York Islanders before the pair split starts in a sweep at the hands of the Boston Bruins.
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Although it looks likely that the two goalies will be elsewhere next season, Waddell isn't ruling out a return for either of them.
"Sometimes guys test the market and then you find where we're at," Waddell said. "We'd like to have both guys back. I've publicly said that. But right now, we don't have deals done with them."
Mrazek and McElhinney might be hard-pressed to find an easier goaltending assignment next season. The Canes allowed the third-fewest shots against (28.6 per game) in the regular season and led the league in shot differential, peppering opposing goaltenders with 479 more shots than they allowed.
If the two netminders do leave, Waddell said prospect Alex Nedeljkovic will get a chance to earn a goaltender spot. The 23-year-old led the AHL Charlotte Checkers to a Calder Cup championship this season and won the Aldege "Baz" Bastien Memorial Award as the league's best goaltender.
The 2018-19 campaign was the first season to feature Mrazek and McElhinney in the Canes' crease. Cam Ward had been a mainstay between the pipes for Carolina since winning the Stanley Cup as a rookie in 2006. He left as a free agent last summer.