Joni Ortio

Dallas Stars v Calgary Flames

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

5 Comments

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.

Ortio wants to ‘steal that No. 1 job’ in Calgary next season

Calgary Flames v Winnipeg Jets
6 Comments

In his end-of-year media availability, Flames GM Brad Treliving had this to say about his goalie situation, which currently features Karri Ramo, Jonas Hiller and Joni Ortio:

“A wise man one told me there’s only one net.

“Carrying three goalies, you can do it for a short period of time, it doesn’t make sense. I think all three goalies have shown the ability to play.

“I thought we had good goaltending, but we need time to decompress, push away and think clearly about what we think is our best decision.”

The most obvious — and perhaps easiest — solution to slaying the three-headed goalie monster is letting Ramo walk when he becomes a UFA on July 1. While Ramo played well at times for Calgary this season and probably still has some good years left (he turns 29 this summer), the club has Hiller under contract through 2016 and, next season, can’t send Ortio down to the AHL without subjecting him to waivers.

Ortio, 24, is a pretty intriguing player. He went 4-2-0 with a 2.52 GAA and .908 save percentage in a brief six-game cameo with the Flames this year and, in the AHL, went 21-13-1 with a 2.69 GAA, .912 save percentage and four shutouts. He was named Adirondack’s MVP and could conceivably be Calgary’s goalie of the future.

Or maybe the present.

“No one wants to back up. Everyone wants to play,” Ortio said recently, per NHL.com. “That’s what I’ll be looking to do next September in camp, trying to steal that No. 1 job.”

Under normal circumstances, Ortio would likely be in line for a full season as the backup, to gain valuable experience and learn how to perform at the NHL level. But Flames head coach Bob Hartley doesn’t take a very normal approach when it comes to his goalies — he’ll play whomever gives him the best chance at winning, like this postseason; Hiller was great against Vancouver for most of Round 1, but it was Ramo that came on in relief in the deciding Game 6 and recorded the victory.

In Round 2, against Hiller’s former Ducks team, Hartley threw his support behind the Swiss netminder… only to tab Ramo as the starter just one game into the series.

In light of this, it’s easy to see why Ortio thinks he can be the No. 1 next year.

“The opportunity is going to be there,” Ortio explained. “It’s just up to me to grab it. No one is going to give it to me. I need to go take it myself.”

Giordano extension ‘No. 1’ priority for Flames; decision pending on Ramo

Mark Giordano, Karri Ramo
5 Comments

With their season over, the Calgary Flames now face questions about a number of veteran presences — specifically, captain Mark Giordano and goalie Karri Ramo.

On Tuesday, GM Brad Treliving shed some light onto where both fall on the priority chart.

Giordano tops it, per Treliving, who said getting the captain signed to a contract extension is his No. 1 job — once Giordano is eligible to sign a new deal on July 1. The 31-year-old, heading into the last of a five-year, $20.1 million deal, missed the final quarter of 2014-15 (and all of the playoffs) with a torn biceps tendon but is universally regarded as the Flames’ leader and best player. Giordano was also widely considered to be a Norris Trophy frontrunner at the time of his injury; he still managed to finish 13th among d-men in scoring this year, with 48 points, despite missing 21 games.

“Everybody in this room knows what Mark means,” Treliving said. “On the ice, we all know. He’s a culture-setter for me. We plan to get to work at it [contract extension] and have done some preliminary work at it, but it’s one we want to get wrapped up real quick this summer.”

As for Ramo, his future is murkier.

The Finnish netminder had a pretty good season, essentially splitting starting duties with Jonas Hiller (Ramo had 32 starts to Hiller’s 44.) 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, the 28-year-old stopped 44 of 47 shots, many of the highlight-reel variety.

Ramo, though, is a pending UFA and the Flames have both Hiller and highly-touted AHLer Joni Ortio under contract for next season. What’s more, Ortio now requires waivers to be sent down to the American League, and Treliving hinted that a three-goalie rotation wasn’t something the club wanted to mess around with.

“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.”

As for the club’s other key free agents — RFAs Lance Bouma and Mikael Backlund — Treliving said “we expected to get both of them signed.”

PHT Morning Skate: Miss Canada…really loves hockey

Chanel Beckenlehner
8 Comments

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.

During a Miss Universe pageant, Miss Canada wore the outfit you see on your right as her “national costume.” (CBC.ca)

Joni Ortio has been sent to the AHL, but he might be back up after the All-Star break. (Calgary Sun)

Scott Clemmensen hasn’t been able to stick with the New Jersey Devils this season, but he’s “having fun” in the AHL. “I can’t complain too much. I still get paid to play hockey,” he noted. (The Bergen Record)

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper met Connor McDavid and Bobby Orr:

Speaking of which, Orr had some advice for McDavid. (Toronto Sun)

It’s possible Rob Zepp has played in his last NHL game, but for now he’s waiting to see what happens after the All-Star break. (CSN Philly)

A hockey dad got so mad at a referee’s call that he punched through the safety glass:

Goalie nods: Red-hot Ortio gets fifth straight start for Flames

Joni Ortio
3 Comments

All the latest from the blue paint…

Joni rides again

Talk about a luxury of wealth in goal.

Tonight in Anaheim, Calgary will give Joni Ortio — the 23-year-old Finn that’s spent the majority of the year in AHL Adirondack — his fifth consecutive start as he looks for his fifth consecutive win.

Ortio, called up after Karri Ramo landed on IR, has been nothing short of brilliant during his brief stint in Calgary, moving ahead of Jonas Hiller on the depth chart by posting a .958 save percentage and 1.23 GAA in victories over Vancouver, Arizona, San Jose and Los Angeles. All four wins came on the road and Ortio started his run with a 36-save shutout against the Canucks… in his season debut.

More:

The Calgary Flames just keep winning and winning, Part 2

Awkward or not, Flames will carry three goalies as Ortio shows ‘swagger’

For the Ducks, Frederik Andersen will get the nod in goal.

Elsewhere…

Leafs at Sens: Craig Anderson for Ottawa, no word yet on a Toronto starter.

‘Hawks at Pens: Marc-Andre Fleury for Pittsburgh, Corey Crawford likely for Chicago.

Jackets at Jets: Michael Hutchinson for Winnipeg, no word yet on a Columbus starter.

Bruins at Avs: Semyon Varlamov for Colorado, Tuukka Rask likely for Boston.

Kings at Sharks: Antti Niemi likely for San Jose, no word yet on a L.A. starter.