Tag: Miikka Kiprusoff


Flames still offer some solid trade bait


The Calgary Flames are expected to be somewhere between mediocre and lousy next season, but that doesn’t mean that they lack assets altogether.

Assuming that GM Jay Feaster is maintaining the same list of “untouchables” that included Sven Baertschi, Curtis Glencross, Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie at the 2013 trade deadline, here’s a look at some other players worth trading for next season.

(Note: let’s assume Miikka Kiprusoff retires or fires down all swaps like he did last time.)

Mike Cammalleri – Feaster can sell suitors on his expiring contract and the fact that he’s scored 20+ goals five times in his career, including two 30+ goal seasons. (Don’t forget his 13 goals for Montreal in the 2010 playoffs.)

Dennis Wideman – Carries many of the same strengths and weaknesses as other often-criticized offensive defensemen like Mike Green. Many teams might balk at his $5.25 million rate through 2016-17, especially since he’s already 30. Still, he brings experience and is used to logging big minutes.

Lee Stempniak – He’s quietly put up some nice numbers for the Flames at a reasonable price. Don’t be surprised if he’s a savvy deadline pickup by a contending team.

Jiri Hudler – The former Detroit Red Wings winger produced at about the same level as he did in Hockeytown. He carries a digestible price tag ($4 million per year through 2015-16) and is fairly young at 29. His stock might be at an all-time low, though.

Mikael Backlund – Perhaps some other team believes that the 24-year-old will make a breakthrough thanks to a change in scenery?

Shane O’Brien – For all his faults, he brings the kind of size and edge that is still valued in the NHL.

David Jones – Sure, the Flames just traded for him, but what if someone offers a solid pick or prospect for the overpaid sniper?

More Calgary Flames day on PHT:

Goalie Ramo is wild card for Calgary

Just how bad will the Flames be next year?

Baertschi might be the one Flame hoping to replicate 2013

Goalie Ramo is wild card for Calgary

Karri Ramo

When Karri Ramo left for the KHL in 2009, he didn’t exactly leave an impressive NHL stat line behind him. At the time of his departure, the Finnish goalie had played 48 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning, registering a .895 save percentage with a 3.35 goals-against average.

But Ramo’s fortunes turned for the better during his four-season stint with Omsk Avangard, and now he’s back in the NHL with the Calgary Flames.

In fact, with the expected retirement of Miikka Kiprusoff, Ramo could very well be the Flames’ starter next season. (Barring the acquisition of another netminder, it would seem to be either him or Joey MacDonald.)

Ramo, 27, went 26-9-5 with a .929 save percentage last season for Omsk Avangard. In terms of save percentage, only six KHL goalies were better than that.

Now, it has to be noted that success in the KHL doesn’t guarantee success in North America. We are, after all, talking about a league where journeyman Curtis Sanford registered a .927 save percentage last year.

Having said that, it’s hard to imagine Ramo does any worse in 2013-14 than the Flames’ goalies did last season when they combined for a .889 save percentage. Only the NHL-worst Florida Panthers had poorer goaltending (.887) than that, statistically speaking.

“Karri Ramo provides us with greater depth at a critical position,” said Flames general manager Jay Feaster when the club acquired the goalie’s rights from the Canadiens in December. “Ramo has NHL experience and is one of the top goaltenders in Europe. His work ethic and dedication are first rate, and he is just starting to enter the prime of his career. We believe he has the tools and mental make-up necessary to be a number one goaltender in the NHL, and are pleased to add him to our organization.”

From Sergei Bobrovsky in Columbus to James Reimer in Toronto, we saw last season just how big a factor goaltending can play in turning a team from a loser into a winner. The Blue Jackets went from dead last in the NHL to middle of the pack; the Maple Leafs made the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

Put it this way: Of the 10 teams with the highest team percentages in 2013, only Columbus and Edmonton missed the playoffs. And of the 10 teams with the lowest save percentages, only the Islanders made the playoffs.

Bit of a correlation there.

Whether Ramo is up for the task remains to be seen. But if he is, the Flames may not be as bad as many are expecting.

Just how bad will the Flames be next year?

Jay Feaster

Headline on PHT (Mar. 28, 2013):

Jay Feaster doesn’t want to call Flames rebuilding

Headline on PHT (June 14, 2013):

Feaster admits team is rebuilding

So when we ask how bad Calgary will be next year, it isn’t meant to ridicule. To the contrary, it’s a totally legitimate question, to which a lot of Flames fans are hoping the answer is, “Really, really bad. Like…the worst.”

The Flames already got three first-round picks at this summer’s draft: Sean Monahan (sixth overall), Emile Poirier (22nd) and Morgan Klimchuk (28th). But that was only the beginning, if you believe the general manager.

“I don’t think there’s a quick fix,” Feaster said, per the Calgary Sun. “The fact of the matter is we have to do a better job as an organization in drafting. We think over the last three years or so that we’ve done a better job. But not enough players are pushing through right now.”

The Flames, of course, traded away two of their best players in Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester last season. It’s also expected that goalie Miikka Kiprusoff will retire.

Granted, there’s still the likes of Mike Cammalleri, Jiri Hudler, Mark Giordano, and Dennis Wideman, but on paper, this team has big question marks in multiple areas. As in, pretty much every area that exists.

In 2013-14, the Flames will be in the Pacific Division with the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, and Edmonton Oilers. The consensus is they’ll be hard-pressed to finish anywhere but last. Which, again, is what many fans are hoping.


It’s Calgary Flames day on PHT