Somewhere in Finland, Miikka Kiprusoff is probably not paying attention to the fortunes of the Calgary Flames.
From everything written and said about him during his time here, which concluded with his retirement in 2013, he seemed like the kind of guy who could walk away and not give the NHL another thought.
But if Kiprusoff was to take a look this way, he’d see there were big problems in the spot he used to occupy 70 nights a year. He’d discover that the Flames have not been able to replace him with anyone who could remotely fill any part of his skates.
It’s been a visible problem all season.
Job No. 3 for GM Brad Treviling this off-season after signing Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan is to find a goaltender who can stop the puck. He may try to find a stop-gap solution prior to next week’s deadline, but with the playoffs out of the question, why the rush?
With their current goaltending staff, the Flames have a 3.07 goals-against-average, which is T29th out of 30 teams. Their .895 combined save percentage is dead last.
The contracts of their current NHLers will expire at the end of the season and both Jonas Hiller ($4.5 million) and Karri Ramo ($3.8 million) will become unrestricted free agents. Hiller definitely won’t return.
Head coach Bob Hartley has shown that he doesn’t want to use young Joni Ortio ($600,000), who becomes a restricted free agent July 1. Ramo suffered a season-ending injury two weeks ago and the Flames continue to shove Hiller out on the ice every night despite him being less than effective, possibly in the hopes that he will show enough that another team will take him as a backup for the playoff run.
Admittedly, Ortio wasn’t good in his five NHL games either before he was demoted to the minors before Christmas, but what’s the harm in another look now?
The Flames were counting on young prospect John Gillies to be ready for the NHL in the fall of 2016, but he had season-ending hip surgery in November, prompting a change of thought. Gillies had a 3.21 GAA and .920 save percentage in seven games with AHL Stockton before it was decided he would have surgery.
“Him having this surgery, him missing this time, may force us to look at other options for next year,” Treviling told the Calgary Herald at that time.
Those options are clearly currently playing goal elsewhere right now.