Flames, Rittich avoid arbitration with two-year, $5.5 million deal

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The Calgary Flames’ goaltending duo for the 2019-20 season is now officially set.

The team announced on Saturday morning that it has re-signed restricted free agent goalie David Rittich to a two-year, $5.5 million contract that will run through the end of the 2020-21 season. Rittich and the Flames were set to go to arbitration, but were able to avoid it with a short-term contract that could be a steal for the Flames over the next two seasons.

Rittich, who turns 27 next month, was a pleasant surprise for the Flames during the 2018-19 season by appearing in 45 games and finishing the season with a .911 save percentage, helping to solidify the position as veteran Mike Smith stumbled through one of the worst seasons of his NHL career. Even though he finished the regular season with superior individual numbers and appeared in more games, the Flames still opted to go with Smith as their No. 1 goalie in the playoffs.

[ProHockeyTalk’s 2019 NHL free agency tracker]

Now that Smith has moved on to Edmonton, Rittich will share the net this season with veteran Cam Talbot after he signed a one-year, $2.75 million contract as an unrestricted free agent earlier this summer.

Given the way Talbot has performed the past two seasons it is not a stretch to think that Rittich will end up getting the bulk of the playing time. The Flames’ forwards and defense are good enough to take the team deep in the playoffs, so they don’t really need either goalie to steal games for them on a consistent basis. They just need them to not lose games for them.

With Rittich signed the Flames remaining two unsigned restricted free agents are forwards Matthew Tkachuk (in line for a significant raise) and Andrew Mangiapane. The Flames only have $4.6 million in salary cap space remaining and will no doubt need to make another move at some point to fit both contracts under the cap.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.