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DiPietro released by Hurricanes' minor league team

Charlotte Checkers goalie Rick DiPietro stands in net.

Charlotte Checkers goalie Rick DiPietro stands in net. Credit: Handout

Rick DiPietro is moving on.

The Islanders' former franchise goaltender was released by the Charlotte Checkers Tuesday, a month after signing a professional tryout contract with the Carolina Hurricanes' minor league team.

Checkers general manager and coach Jeff Daniels said DiPietro asked Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford to be released.

"Over the last few days he's been contemplating what the next step was and he came to the decision [Monday]," Daniels told Newsday. "He called Jim Rutherford and thanked him for the opportunity and moved on."

DiPietro could not be reached for comment.

He had an 0-4 record with a 5.18 goals against average and an .846 save percentage for the Hurricanes' AHL affiliate. DiPietro was signed on Oct. 26 after Carolina goalies Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin suffered injuries.

"I think the first couple of games were tough after missing training camp but he showed steady improvement to the point where his last game was his best and he had a little more swagger," Daniels said. "He looked more confident in his movement and playing the puck."

DiPietro made 26 saves in Charlotte's 4-3 loss to Rockford (Ill.) on Sunday.

Despite the rough stretch on the ice, Daniels said DiPietro wasn't a problem in the locker room.

"His attitude was really good and I give him a lot of credit for that," Daniels said. "He was very professional and came to the rink ready to work. He was the first guy here working out and he was very vocal and very talkative, that's his personality. There was no attitude whatsoever. He came in and was an easy fit from day one."

DiPietro, 32, had the final eight seasons of his 15-year, $67.5-million contract bought out by the Islanders in July. The Islanders are paying him $1.5 million a year for the next 16 years. DiPietro, who had a long history of injuries, appeared in just 50 games over his final five seasons with the team.

DiPietro spoke to Newsday earlier this month in Charlotte.

"It's definitely been a wake-up call," DiPietro said then about getting released by the Islanders. "I never would have imagined playing anywhere else, but it's part of the business and you move on."

The terms of DiPietro's tryout contract allowed the Hurricanes 25 games to decide whether to promote the goalie to the NHL. DiPietro was competing for playing time with two other goalies for the Checkers.

"I had a talk with him last week about how we had three goalies and there was an opportunity for all three to step up and be the guy," Daniels said. "And he felt it wouldn't go his way and he decided to move on."

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