Calgary Flames

Crowded crease: Flames bring back Ramo on one-year, $3.8M deal

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Interesting move from the Flames to open free agency — per Sportsnet, they’ve re-signed goalie Karri Ramo to a one-year, $3.8 million deal.

Ramo, 28, didn’t sound as though he’d be back in Calgary in mid-May, when Flames GM Brad Treliving suggested the team’s crease was getting a little crowded with Jonas Hiller and Joni Ortio already under contract.

“We’ve got a young guy Ortio who’s pushing, knocking on the door,” Treliving explained. “[Ramo] is a decision we’ve got to make over the course of the next few weeks, we’re just not there yet.

“A wise man told me there’s only one net. Carrying three goalies, you can only do it for a short period of time.”

That said, the Flames were pleased with how the Finnish netminder played last season. Ramo had a solid campaign, essentially splitting starting duties with Hiller — Ramo had 32 starts to Hiller’s 44 — and that trend carried over to the playoffs, where Hiller was the No. 1 against Vancouver, only to cede the gig in Round 2 versus Anaheim, when Ramo took the job and played well.

In Calgary’s Game 5 elimination contest, Ramo was stellar in stopping 44 of 47 shots, many of the highlight-reel variety.

Recent rumors suggested Calgary was in the market for another goalie. At the draft, the club was rumored to be in the running for former Rangers (now Oilers) netminder Cam Talbot — so, in that light, bringing back Ramo isn’t a huge surprise.

That said, the Finn has scored himself a nice raise — up from the $2.75M annually he made on his last deal — and the Flames now have $8.4M locked into him and Hiller.

PHT Morning Skate: Penguins quest for top-six forward continues into UFA fenzy

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

With the free agent period about to begin, what players are the Pittsburgh Penguins likely to target to bolster their top two lines? (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

The Philadelphia Flyers will hold Kimmo Timonen’s retirement ceremony on Oct. 14 when they host the Chicago Blackhawks. (Flyers.nhl.com)

Here’s a thorough look at the situation in Buffalo after GM Tim Murray’s flurry of moves. (Puck Daddy)

Expectations are high for Avalanche GM Joe Sakic going into the free agent frenzy. (Denver Post)

Calgary has Dougie Hamilton locked up, so now the focus will shift back to re-signing Mark Giordano. (Calgary Sun)

Could Matt Beleskey end up with Toronto? (Toronto Sun)

Treliving, Flames not concerned about ‘noise’ coming out of Boston

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With Dougie Hamilton locked up in Calgary for the next six years questions on Tuesday’s conference call turned to the fall out with the Boston Bruins.

On Sunday the Boston Herald published a piece on the trade, which sent Hamilton to Calgary. In the story, Stephen Harris quoted an unnamed NHL executive who shed light on what was allegedly going on behind the scenes with the defenseman and the Bruins.

Here’s more from the Herald piece:

“It was surprising,” said one NHL assistant GM. “It’s obvious there’s something going on that we don’t know about. From what I’ve heard behind the scenes, his teammates don’t like him. I heard he’s a loner and sort of an uppity kid, and that his teammates don’t like him and it was unanimous.”

On Tuesday, Flames GM Brad Treliving and Hamilton addressed the story (You can hear the entire conference all here).

“When we went through this process of acquiring Dougie, and I know in my mind there’s been a lot of crap written in the last little bit, we do a lot of research on the player, not only what he does on the ice, but what he does off the ice,” Treliving said. “There’s a lot of things that keep me up at night, the type of person that Dougie is, the type of teammate that he is, is not one of them.

“There has not been an ounce of or a calorie wasted in terms of worrying about the player. I would hope that that is going to put to rest any of the noise and questions that I’ve been asked over the last couple of days.”

Hamilton, who spent the first three years of his career in Boston, wasn’t interested in talking about the Herald story.

“I’m trying not to pay attention to all that stuff too much,” he said. “I think for me right now it’s just a lot of excitement honestly with me just getting traded to the Flames and now signing and everything.”

When pushed further on what went wrong in Boston, Hamilton refused to answer.

“For me, I’m just going to keep on saying how excited I am to be a Flame and looking forward to the future and everything,” Hamilton said. “What’s in the past is in the past and I think I’m just looking forward to being a Flame to moving to Calgary and seeing the city and the fans.”

Hamilton signs six-year deal with Flames

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From TSN’s Darren Dreger:

The Flames have since confirmed it.

It probably won’t make Bruins fans too happy that Hamilton will sign with the Flames for a cap hit that in no way can be considered excessive. The 22-year-old had 42 points last season, 23rd most among NHL defensemen. On top of that, he’s still developing.

The news also supports the scuttlebutt that Hamilton, for whatever reason, did not want to remain in Boston. Though Bruins GM Don Sweeney denied the player asked out, he did say, “We extended Dougie a very significant contract offer, and it didn’t lead us to where we thought we’d be able to, with him being comfortable being a part of our group long-term.”

From Calgary’s perspective, Hamilton gives the Flames another capable defenseman. In fact, assuming they can sign captain Mark Giordano to an extension, they may, at some point, have to look at trading someone. Perhaps Dennis Wideman?

Update:

What character concerns? Treliving has ‘slept like a baby’ since Hamilton trade

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Not long after the inevitable “Dougie Hamilton was disliked!” stories came out of Boston, Hamilton’s new boss — Flames GM Brad Treliving — shot down any notion the young d-man was arriving in Calgary with character concerns.

From the Sun:

“I’m not going to comment on any anonymous people out there, but we’ve done our homework — thorough homework — both on the player and the person, and we are over-the-moon excited about the player and the person that we’re getting,” Treliving said. “We think he’s going to fit like a glove — on and off the ice — with us.

“This type of player doesn’t come around very often at this age. You’re talking about a very intelligent kid. He’s a 98% student. He won the scholastic award (in the Ontario Hockey League in 2011). I like that he’s a very cerebral kid. Smart. Intelligent.

“This doesn’t keep me awake at night. Since the day we got Dougie Hamilton, I’ve had the best sleeps of the past few years. I’ve slept like a baby.”

As if to further hammer home his point, Treliving began negotiating a contract extension with Hamilton’s agent, J.P. Barry, before the club made its perfunctory qualifying offer on Monday. If you’re wondering what the figures might look like, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that Boston’s offer to Hamilton was for $33 million over six years — a $5.5M annual cap hit — while the counter was “about $2M per year higher.”

In that light, it’ll be really curious to see what number Calgary settles on — especially given what else the club needs to do this summer.

Treliving’s on record saying his biggest priority of the offseason was an extension with another key defenseman, team captain Mark Giordano, and early rumblings suggest the Giordano camp has opened negotiations with an eye-popping ask of $9 million per season.

Could be a spendy July in Calgary.