Tag: Miikka Kiprusoff

Calgary Flames v Pittsburgh Penguins

Flames’ Kiprusoff leaning towards retirement, Feaster says


It seems less and less likely that Miikka Kiprusoff will be in Calgary next season.

Flames GM Jay Feaster confirmed as much on Wednesday, saying the 37-year-old goalie was leaning towards retirement when the two conversed last week.

It’s not surprising to hear talk of Kipper hanging up his skates, as he struggled through an injury-plagued 2013 campaign.

He missed a large chunk of time to a knee injury, and looked out of sorts when he did play, posting an 8-14-2 record with a 3.44 GAA and .882 save percentage.

What’s more, he watched as the Flames tore down in prep for a major rebuild, trading away the likes of Jay Bouwmeester, Jarome Iginla and Blake Comeau at the deadline.

Kiprusoff has one year remaining on his six-year, $35 million deal. But because it was front-loaded, he would only earn $1.5 million in salary next season — and if he did retire, the Flames would be off the hook for his $5.83 million cap hit.

To that end, Feaster has prepped for life after Kiprusoff by locking up a number of goalies over the last few months.

He signed Karri Ramo out of the KHL, gave Joey MacDonald a one-year extension and inked both Joni Ortio and Laurent Brossiot to entry-level deals.

Kipper replacement? Flames to sign KHL goalie Ramo


The Calgary Flames are preparing for life after Miikka Kiprusoff.

On Wednesday, both the Calgary Herald and Sun reported the Flames have an agreement in place to sign KHL Avangard Omsk netminder Karri Ramo on July 5, the start of free agency.

Ramo, 26, was a Tampa Bay draftee in 2004 and appeared in 48 contests with the Bolts from 2007-09.

He signed with Omsk following the ’08-09 season and flourished into one of the KHL’s best netminders, earning multiple All-Star game nominations while posting goals-against averages of 2.11, 1.97. 1.96 and 2.00.

While in Russia, Ramo’s NHL rights were traded from Tampa Bay to Montreal, who in turn traded them to Calgary as part of last year’s Mike Cammalleri-Rene Bourque deal.

TrueHockey.com’s Andy Strickland reports Ramo’s deal will be of the multi-year variety.

If correct, it means that — assuming the 37-year-old Kiprusoff retires as expected — Ramo will be in a competition with Joey MacDonald, Finnish prospect Joni Ortio, WHL Edmonton’s Laurent Brossiot and Swiss star Reto Berra for minutes in the Calgary goal next season.

Flames G Taylor signs in Sweden


After making his Calgary debut this season and performing well in a limited role, Danny Taylor thought he’d be in the mix for the Flames next season.

But he wasn’t willing to wait around to find out.

Instead, Taylor took a two-year offer from Farjestad of the Swedish Elite League, which he describes as a “a two-year deal, and it’s twice as much money as I’ve ever made in a hockey season.”

That’s not to say this turn of events is all good news.

“I wanted to be back with Calgary, but there was no opportunity there, to be honest,” Taylor told The Abbotsford News. “When we talked about a deal with them, they said they couldn’t do anything right now.

“It’s kind of disappointing after the year I had.”

Taylor, 27, spent most of the season with Calgary’s AHL affiliate in Abbotsford, posting a 1.77 GAA (2nd best in the AHL) and .930 save percentage (4th best) prior to earning a one-year deal with the Flames after Miikka Kiprusoff was injured in February.

He went on to appear in two games for Calgary this season: a 33-save loss to Phoenix and a 29-save victory over Vancouver in March, his first and only career NHL win.

Nonis expects plenty of trade activity this summer


On Monday, the Maple Leafs were eliminated in heartbreaking fashion by the Bruins. But for Toronto general manager Dave Nonis, there’s not much time to dwell on the past.

Nonis believes there’s going to be a flurry of trades this offseason as teams adjust to a lower salary cap. He also believes the Leafs, who don’t necessarily need to shed salary, may be in a position to take advantage of other clubs’ problems.

As for certain key Leafs players…

James Reimer

“At this point, I would say he’d be back as a No. 1,” said Nonis, adding that goaltending wasn’t a weakness for Toronto this season. Reimer finished the playoffs with a .923 save percentage. The Leafs, of course, were reportedly in talks to acquire Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo and Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff at the trade deadline.

Phil Kessel

The 25-year-old winger has one year remaining on his contract before he can become an unrestricted free agent. Nonis heaped praise on his top sniper, but also said there’s no “urgency” to get an extension done.

Tyler Bozak

Kessel’s linemate can become an unrestricted free agent on July 5, and Nonis didn’t sound so sure about getting an extension done: “The numbers have to make sense.” Given the dearth of free-agent centers, Bozak could be looking at a big payday. But maybe not from the Leafs.

Dion Phaneuf

Like Kessel, the Leafs’ captain has one year left on his contract before he’s free to sign anywhere. Phaneuf came under fire during the Boston series after his Game 4 pinch led to the Bruins’ winning goal in overtime. Nonis said today that no Leafs were “untouchable,” and with younger, cheaper blue-liners like Jake Gardiner, Cody Franson, and Carl Gunnarsson, it wouldn’t be a massive surprise if Phaneuf was quietly shopped this summer.

Four key position battles for ’14 Winter Olympics


With news of a working understanding that NHL players will participate in the upcoming Winter Olympics, we thought it’d be a good time to start looking at the fight for jobs in 2014.

Why four? Because the games are every four years, and I couldn’t come up with a fifth.

Who’ll be Canada’s  starting netminder?

While the state of Canadian goaltending is hardly in flux, the current choices for No. 1 do come with question marks…

— Roberto Luongo, who led the country to gold in Vancouver, was resigned to a backup role with the Canucks.

— Carey Price struggled mightily for Montreal down the stretch and into the playoffs.

— Cam Ward suffered a season-ending knee injury in March.

— Marc-Andre Fleury has been benched in favor of Tomas Vokoun.

— Martin Brodeur will be closing in on his 42nd birthday.

Other candidates — Mike Smith, Corey Crawford, Brian Elliott — have been mentioned, but they’re considered peripheral contenders at best.

Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun is pushing Braden Holtby for consideration, but that seems like a longshot.

Who’ll be Finland’s starting netminder?

Almost the polar opposite situation from Canada’s — it could be argued Finland has the best goaltending depth in the world right now:

— Tuukka Rask, who just posted arguably the finest regular season of his career.

— Antti Niemi, who just received his first-ever Vezina nomiation.

— Pekka Rinne, who finished third in last year’s Vezina voting.

— Niklas Backstrom, who tied for the NHL lead in wins (24) this year.

— Kari Lehtonen, who posted back-to-back 3o-win seasons from 2010-12.

No shortage of quality candidates to choose from, and this list doesn’t even include Miikka Kiprusoff.

Who’ll be Team USA’s head coach?

The smart money is on Pittsburgh’s Dan Byslma who, since taking the Pens gig in 2009, has:

— Posted a 201-92-25 regular-season record (.671 winning percentage).

— Qualified for the playoffs every year, won Stanley Cup in 2009.

— Captured Jack Adams in 2011.

Despite that resume, Bylsma will have challengers for the gig.

New York’s John Tortorella and Philadelphia’s Peter Laviolette will likely be in the mix, as both have coached at the national team level in previous years.

Jack Capuano, coming off a highly-successful campaign with the Islanders, will also garner some consideration, as will Jackets bench boss Todd Richards after orchestrating a tremendous playoff push in Columbus.

Who’ll play defense for the Russians?

According to NHL.com, there were just nine Russian defensemen in the league this year — Andrei Markov, Sergei Gonchar, Slava Voynov, Fedor Tyutin, Alexei Emelin, Dmitry Kulikov, Nikita Nikitin, Anton Volchenkov and Dmitry Orlov.

It’s an odd group, age-wise:

— Gonchar (39) and Markov (35 in December) are old.

— Orlov (22), Kulikov (23) and Voynov (23) are young.

— The guys in the middle are…nothing to write home about.

There were signs of trouble on the Russian blueline during the ‘1o winter games, when the roster included three KHL defensemen (and a fourth, Edmonton’s Denis Grebeshkov, who would soon join them.)

Team Russia proceeded to allow 13 goals over four games, including seven in a quarterfinal loss to Canada.