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Calgary Flames

Calgary’s Goalie Conundrum



At this point, any Flames fan that hasn't been busily protecting himself (or herself) from cognitive dissonance realizes the club has an issue in goal. Kiprusoff SV% has steadily declined since his Vezina season, culminating in his below average performance this season. He's signed for another 5 years (that's till the end of 13/14) and has one of the highest cap hits in the league, relative to other goalies. And, as if that's not enough, he has a NMC attached to that albatross deal.

That's just where the issues start, however.

Let's say, the organization decided it wanted to acquire a real, established NHL goaltender to back-up Kipper this off-season. A reasonably affordable younger guy that would have the chance of pulling a Hiller should Kipper fall into Raycroft territory (which is conceivable at this point). Think: Antero Niittymaki, Jason Labarbera, Ty Conklin, Craig Anderson.

Ignoring the Flames lack of cap room for a minute and pretending they could spend more than minimum on the back-up, what are the chances that any of these guys would sign with Calgary? Knowing what they know about Kiprusoff's position in the organization, Mike Keenan and the manner in which Kipper was deployed last season (despite not playing all that well)…I would say "nil", assuming, of course, they wish to push for a starting role rather than open a bench door for 70 games a year. There probably isn't a less attractive destination in the league if you're a back-up goalie with any kind of aspirations to improve or get promoted. Just ask Curtis McElhinney. 

Unless Kiprusoff improbably regains his form, the only way "out" of this situation that I can see is for Miikka to get injured and some internal asset to step up and displace him. Akin to the Pascal Leclaire/Steve Mason thing that happened in Columbus this season.

by Kent Wilson