Flames re-sign MacDonald

Kent Wilson
April 20 2013 09:33AM

 

joey macdonald

pic via Alfed Reloaded

Calgary announced this morning on twitter that the club has re-signed veteran back-up Joey MacDonald to a one year, $925,000 contract.

During the Flames recent mini rebound, MacDonald has had a good couple of contests, but I'll be frank - I don't really understand this move. At least, I don't understand why it was undertaken now. MacDonald is a 33 year old career journeyman goalie with a .903 career save percentage in the NHL. You can pick those up on the trade or free agent market pretty much any day of the week - hell, Calgary acquired him by picking him off of waivers.

As such, this sort of contract makes a lot more sense if it was signed in, say, August after the team has tried and failed to acquire a quality alternative.

I've talked at length the last 6-12 months about the club's inability to build real redundancy in net at the NHL level since Kipper grabbed the reins. Well, this isn't really how you do it - Joey Mac is a veteran and a pro, but he's never been better than replacement level and at 33 years old he's not a good bet to meaningfully improve.

Right now, it looks like Berra, Ramo and MacDonald will be battling for two NHL spots in training camp which is...uh I guess a kind of redundancy, but not the type I mean.

I suspect more than one established better than mediocre NHL puckstopper is going to squirt loose this off-season, either via trade or buy-out. I hope the Flames jamming their depth chart with unknown commodities and career back-ups doesn't dissuade them from looking at any legit starters if they are available.

Finally, this move seems to solidify the fact that Kipper will retire in the summer. It's either that or Feaster isn't sure that Ramo will sign a deal and leave the KHL. I guess we'll see which it is.

 

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Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#1 Justin Azevedo
April 20 2013, 05:19PM
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the flames have 0 replacement-level goalies under contract at the moment.

signing one of them to another year deal where there are at least four other immediate names that will pop up in fa that are better options seems like a mistake to me.

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#2 FireOnIce
April 20 2013, 12:42PM
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First thing, I never trust a 33 year old with the name of Joey or Danny or something like that; your name is Joe. Or Dan. Or Joseph/Daniel.

Second thing, what in the hell Feaster? MacBackup is not MacStarter, he's basically MacReplacement.

Of course, with all the lambasting of Feaster for recent idiocy, nobody remembers the biggest sin he's committed: trying to trade for RYAN FREAKING SMYTH. Holy hell man.

Boourns.

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#3 BurningSensation
April 20 2013, 07:52PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

the reason he can't avoid criticism is because with very few exceptions he's failed miserably.

the drafting isn't that good. it just appears to be good - the reality is many franchises across the league have picked just as many nhlers-in-waiting than the flames over the past couple of drafts. some even more.

I view the signing as poorly timed. if this contract was signed in august, 0 issues with it. ramo will be a 1a guy at best, berra is likely ahl fodder, and macdonald is below-replacement level.

Wow, Debbie Downer has arrived!

'the drafting isn't that good - it just appears to be good'

Riiiiiiiiight, or perhaps we could actually give him credit for drafting 'good'. When Corey Pronman ranks the last two Flames drafts as being among the best in the league I listen (and cheer!).

When someone says ''it isn't that good, it just looks that way', I think of an old Northern Pike's song, and question their acumen.

(though I do like the Northern Pikes - a tragically underrated band)

MacDonald is virtually the definition of 'replacement level' goaltender (and he has outplayed Kiprusoff for all but the most recent games), and the contract he was offered was essentially a 'no-risk' enterprise.

Seriously, some people will complain about anything.

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#4 Justin Azevedo
April 20 2013, 09:17PM
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@mattyc

career evsv%: .911 on 2658 shots in 119 gp

not an nhl level goalie

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#5 suba steve
April 20 2013, 11:18AM
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I have been a soft supporter of Feaster. The team has drafted better under him. Also, I believe he got about as much as he could for Iggy and JBo under the circumstances he was handed.

However, a lot of his signings have left me puzzled.

1. Babchuk is signed for 2yr $2.5/yr, and right from day one Sutter has him in the press box. Did Feaster even consult with his coach on the value of Babs before the signing? I sure as heck would have.

2. Sarich signed 2yr $2.0/yr with NMC till Dec 31/2013. Sarich also spent time as a healthy scratch last year, this one was also tough for me to understand. One yr at $2 would have been easier to swallow, but still puzzling.

3. MacDonald, I agree that there was probably no big hurry to sign him. Only one yr at reasonable $$ so that's not the problem. But the crease is getting crowded at this point so I guess we assume Taylor and Irving are gone and we are now left with Berra, Brossoit, MacD, Ortio, and (hopefully) Ramo? And exactly how many of these are a clear upgrade on Taylor?

Anyway, my support of Feaster is...softer still.

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#6 RexLibris
April 20 2013, 12:17PM
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Kent,

I was going to comment on that redundancy aspect there, but I see you covered it in the article.

Redundancy indeed.

This is going to come across as facetious, and it partially is, but history suggests that the question needs to be asked: any trade clauses on the contract?

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#7 funkyjaman
April 20 2013, 12:28PM
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I like Joe. He's been decent and is great around the young guys from what I've heard. Not much to complain about here...unless that's you shtick.

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#8 SeanCharles
April 20 2013, 12:45PM
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This means nothing in regards to Ramo coming over.

MacDonald has been the best backup we've had here, if anything this means Kipper isn't coming back.

Having a reliable veteran will be good for Ramo and Berra. Two of those 3 will be our goalies next year.

Broissot will be in the AHL, and Irving and Taylor will not be back on NHL deals.

The way Kipper played these two games and the way he saluted the fans indicates to me he's gonna retire.

It would be poor management to not have a reliable vet to battle with and provide support to Ramo and Berra.

People are blowing this out of proportion. Forget about the post apex thing. He's here on a 1 yr deal, to help bridge to the new era of Flames goalies.

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#9 stretch14
April 20 2013, 04:54PM
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Quick, plan the parade route! We'll draft Lindholm 7th overall, sign Clarkson this summer for $6mil/yr, bring over Berra and boom! We'll be better than the Oilers and competing for a cup in no time! Backlund should be a legit #1 centre for next season right? Btw anyone catch the Oil Kings/hitmen game last night?

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#10 Justin Azevedo
April 20 2013, 06:53PM
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@Kevin R

just because the signing isn't the worst, doesn't mean it's not bad.

macdonald isn't competent, at least by the numbers.

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#11 Justin Azevedo
April 20 2013, 08:21PM
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@BurningSensation

picks that were "good"

sven (fell past where he was projected) johnny g gilles

by my count, that's three out of 12 picks.

replacement level goaltending evsv: .914% joey mac's goaltending evsv: .903%

kiprusoff hasn't really been a good goaltender for 3 out of the past 5 seasons. not that hard to look better than a guy with a sub-900 evsv.

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#12 Jeff Lebowski
April 20 2013, 08:26PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

hahah omg wtf

Why not go for lol instead of hahah?

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#13 schevvy
April 20 2013, 08:44PM
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Kipper cost the team a division title in 08-09 and a playoff spot in 10-11 with crap goaltending. Has alternated good and bad years since 06-07.

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#14 RexLibris
April 21 2013, 08:29AM
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The list of pending goaltender UFAs this summer is Backstrom, Khabibulin, Mike Smith, Theodore, Nabokov, Chris Mason, Garon, Emery, Boucher, Dan Ellis, Anton Khudobin and Michael Leighton - to name a few.

Signing Joey MacDonald is not a priority when a great many options of at the very least equal value, if not better, are certain to make it to market.

If the stated goal of the organization is to make the playoffs next season, waiting until the off-season to pick from a greater pool of candidates are available, would seem to be the wiser choice.

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#15 meat1
April 21 2013, 08:55AM
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@ Rex Libris

Bang on.

This signing reminds me of late last June, when our fearless leader re-signed Sarich BEFORE free agency began. And overpaid him. For two seasons. And a no-trade clause. Sarich could have been signed August 15 for half the money, half the term, with no contract restrictions. Or, um, not signed at all.

This rushed signing of Joey Mac, to me, is the same. We certainly had until July 1 to get a feel for what other goalie options were out there, and much like Sarich, we more than likely had until August to play this card. It is not like he has played his way into 'elite, highly sought after' status.

All of this roster flexibility we are bragging about for this summer won't be here if we keep making decisions like Feaster has made since day one.

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#16 Kevin R
April 21 2013, 01:20PM
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It's a 1 year freaking deal. We have Berra & Ramo & both could fail miserably. Its a contract we can bury in Abbottsford if he plays like crap or Ramo & Berra dont work out & we bring in a bigger name goalie in. If Luongo were bought out, no way he even lands in Calgary to play craps at the casino let alone think of playing here. Goalie isnt our issue next year. Feaster needs to focus on using his cap space to acquire some RFA's on D & forward/centre that are NHL ready enough to have a opportunity to play and become our potential future core. I'm talking guys like Henrique where Jersey needs to give up a 1st to the league this year or next. That Pitt 1st may be a valuable piece for them as part of an Henrique deal. Mac is the least of our worries. I'm sure Ramo & Berra are going to get a real close looksey despite Mac being signed.

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#17 NHL93
April 20 2013, 09:55AM
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I agree. This is strange. Why sign him now, and not wait until July when there are other choices? Is continuity the reason? If so, that's a poor reason.

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#18 Mullen Mania
April 20 2013, 09:56AM
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My concern is that Feaster needs to watch his number of NHL contracts as flexibility could be the key to taking advantage of the cap space this offseason.

I agree that the timing does not make any sense and would indicate that Kipper is not returning. It would also suggest that Flames management assess MacDonald to be something more than a run of the mill backup. While MacDonald has played well in his expected role, for a team that is re..tooling a younger option with more upside would make more sense.

I always feel like I just can't determine what Feaster's plan is, but I really hope he has one. what happened to no post apex players?

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#19 loudogYYC
April 20 2013, 10:03AM
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Joey Mac is the new Noodles! Except they forgot to lock up a legitimate starting goalie first.

I'm actually ok with the signing, it's a rebuild and they're already taking a risk with at least 1 KHL goalie, so may as well have a reliable, known quantity in MacDonald.

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#20 ChinookArch
April 20 2013, 10:13AM
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The Flames have appeared to look desperate in their search for a new starter for next season. They were rumoured to be pushing hard for M. Suban for Iginla, and wound up with a questionable prospect in Bera for Bouwmeester. To me it looks a replay of this current season: bring in 3 goalies to training camp, pick two and flip the unchosen one to a buyer for a 7th rounder. So, I actually think the timing is fine. If the Flames find someone else they'll simply invite 4 goalies to camp.

I've been saying for weeks now that I suspect Ramo is not coming. I now think it's just likely the Flames don't have confidence in any of their choices for a #1 goalie, or back up for that matter. If the Flames don't find a replacement level stopper, it's going to be a long and ugly season next year.

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#21 Lionlager
April 20 2013, 10:23AM
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What's that he said about no "post-apex" players? You really can't take anything he says seriously. He's just spewing catchy phrases and fluffy quotable junk. He will do whatever he feels, not what he says.

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#22 Lionlager
April 20 2013, 10:27AM
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Also, no Cundari Wednesday..?

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#23 Wizard22
April 20 2013, 10:33AM
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If Ramo was coming the Flames would have slide his. KHL team a few bucks to release him and Ramo would have been here already.

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#24 HongKongHockeyFan
April 20 2013, 11:08AM
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This shows me once again that Feaster has no idea what he is doing. The only upside of this move is that it will likely means that Flames management is expecting another year of mediocrity in 2013-14, which will help build Calgary's prospect pool.

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#25 dean the raven
April 20 2013, 11:40AM
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Gotta resign him. You've seen the mask!

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#26 Colin.S
April 20 2013, 11:51AM
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Yeah this move makes little to no sense, more so because of timing than anything I guess.

So we will have Broissott, Berra, Ortio and MacDonald under contract next year......

Well if didn't try hard enough to tank this year we sure are going to be next year. I think this is the writing on he wall that Ramo is NOT coming over. He has a good thing in the KHL why ruin it, he's been there four years, I think its going to take some serious dollars and years to bring him over and I don't think the FLames after the cervenka experiment are willing to do that again.

Guess maybe Feaster thinks that the more goalies they have the better chance that one of them doesn't suck?

Guess we are waiting till Gillies comes out of COllege then?

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#27 mattyc
April 20 2013, 11:57AM
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meh... not a big deal either way. What's Taylor's deal? Does he have another year left?

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#28 Kurt
April 20 2013, 12:02PM
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I wonder if this is more an indication of the internal rebuild timeline? If we go into next season with Kipper retired and no true #1 goalie you'd think that would be an indication that management is accepting the fact that a mini retool is delusion and that we have at least another solid year of losing ahead.

I'm ok with that, i think its the right plan. But if thats the plan why cant they be honest with us... if their actions indicate a slow rebuild plan and they keep talking about playoffs next year it's pathetic and I think insulting to us fans. I believe we'd all get on board and be excited about a properly laid out plan even if it was longer than some would like.

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#29 Colin.S
April 20 2013, 12:08PM
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mattyc wrote:

meh... not a big deal either way. What's Taylor's deal? Does he have another year left?

Taylor is done after this year and won't resign with the FLames is my guess, with this log jam of mediocre goalie talent, my guess is he takes his contract else where in hopes of a better situation.

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#30 mattyc
April 20 2013, 12:15PM
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@Colin.S

yeah fair enough. again - meh. none of these guys are going to measurably change the flames' season next year. I'm a lot more concerned with who will be starting the games next year. I'd imagine Broissot has a spot in Abby, and I'm not sure where Ortio's been playing, but is he even a prospect anymore? So Berra probably plays in the AHL next year and we have a Kipper/MacD or Ramo/MacD tandem. Sounds alright, but like what's been said already, if we are going with a Ramo/MacD tandem (which seems most likely IMO) then it would have been nice to have a little more insurance in a better goalie. I suppose they can always waive/send someone back to europe.

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#31 Colin.S
April 20 2013, 12:29PM
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mattyc wrote:

yeah fair enough. again - meh. none of these guys are going to measurably change the flames' season next year. I'm a lot more concerned with who will be starting the games next year. I'd imagine Broissot has a spot in Abby, and I'm not sure where Ortio's been playing, but is he even a prospect anymore? So Berra probably plays in the AHL next year and we have a Kipper/MacD or Ramo/MacD tandem. Sounds alright, but like what's been said already, if we are going with a Ramo/MacD tandem (which seems most likely IMO) then it would have been nice to have a little more insurance in a better goalie. I suppose they can always waive/send someone back to europe.

You combos there are okay, but what if Kipper retires AND we can't bring Ramo over, than what?

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#32 Justin Azevedo
April 20 2013, 12:42PM
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hahah omg wtf

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#33 Chris Fairfield
April 20 2013, 12:48PM
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Is there any proof that Ramo is in fact not coming over? The only reason that I could see him not coming over is that he does not want to be a part of the rebuild. I would think that he would want to have another chance in the NHL to prove that he can be a starter, rebuild or not. I do have that feeling that he is/was hoping that Kipper was not going to retire, to mentor him and wonder if the recent signing of MacDonald has changed his decision.

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#34 loudogYYC
April 20 2013, 12:50PM
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Ramo stated long ago that he wants to return to the NHL. He turns 28 in July and his KHL contract has expired so you'd think this is as good an opportunity as he'll have to come back to North America. I read somewhere that Feaster said Ramo can't be signed until July so I guess we won't know anything until then. He'll probably sign a 3 year deal.

My gut tells me the MacDonald signing is insurance in case Berra turns out to be another Gustavsson. If Ortio or Brossoit have to play some games in the ECHL, so be it.

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#35 RKD
April 20 2013, 12:57PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

The Flames have appeared to look desperate in their search for a new starter for next season. They were rumoured to be pushing hard for M. Suban for Iginla, and wound up with a questionable prospect in Bera for Bouwmeester. To me it looks a replay of this current season: bring in 3 goalies to training camp, pick two and flip the unchosen one to a buyer for a 7th rounder. So, I actually think the timing is fine. If the Flames find someone else they'll simply invite 4 goalies to camp.

I've been saying for weeks now that I suspect Ramo is not coming. I now think it's just likely the Flames don't have confidence in any of their choices for a #1 goalie, or back up for that matter. If the Flames don't find a replacement level stopper, it's going to be a long and ugly season next year.

If Ramo isn't coming here, then why was he trying to get out of his KHL contract last year? Didn't he say if he wasn't signed last season he would have come to Flames camp? Why hasn't he signed a new deal in the KHL?

He wants to come here and be the starter, if Kipper does retire then I think we see Ramo as the starter and MacDonald as backup.

Signing Joey Mac may not have been the best hockey move, but he's liked in the dressing room. They are trying to change the culture so I don't think having a guy like Ray Emery here would help the locker room. Emery might be a changed guy but there's always the potential he could be a headcase.

Mac is prone to bad rebounds and getting shellacked every now and again but he's given us a chance to be in games which is more than a lot of backups the past decade or so haven't been able to.

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#36 Colin.S
April 20 2013, 01:01PM
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@FireOnIce

When did he try to do that, I know he tried to sign him a while ago, but when did he try to trade for him?

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#37 mattyc
April 20 2013, 01:04PM
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@Colin.S

IF Kipper retires and IF Ramo decides he doesn't want a job in the NHL, then I guess we sign someone else as a FA. We'll know by early May if Ramo wants to come over or not, so it's not a big deal IMO.

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#38 loudogYYC
April 20 2013, 01:06PM
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@Colin.S

I think he's referring to when he asked to be traded out of LA, TSN reported he only wanted to go back to Alberta and that Feaster was interested. I remember being nervous as hell about the whole thing.

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#39 Q
April 20 2013, 01:12PM
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Wow. Just watching the pens /bruins highlights. Every time iggy had the puck on the power played there was a chorus of boos.

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#40 Colin.S
April 20 2013, 01:23PM
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loudogYYC wrote:

I think he's referring to when he asked to be traded out of LA, TSN reported he only wanted to go back to Alberta and that Feaster was interested. I remember being nervous as hell about the whole thing.

Completely forgot about that, yeah that was kinda scary, but still that was a nothing trade I think the Oilers gave up a fourth liner or something maybe? And I don't think he was that terrible last year was he?

But I think that whole thing was mostly a ploy, probably just driving the bidding up trying to get the Oilers to use more assests, doubt there was real interest there.

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#41 Tenbrucelees
April 20 2013, 01:59PM
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He's played well. He's signed to a small cap hit. It's fine. Don't stress.

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#42 dotfras
April 20 2013, 02:09PM
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Don't mind this signing at all. JMAC seems like a guy who gives a damn. Has played decently, and with Kipper going, will be a good older guy for our rookie tenders to look to.

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#43 BurningSensation
April 20 2013, 02:55PM
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SeanCharles wrote:

This means nothing in regards to Ramo coming over.

MacDonald has been the best backup we've had here, if anything this means Kipper isn't coming back.

Having a reliable veteran will be good for Ramo and Berra. Two of those 3 will be our goalies next year.

Broissot will be in the AHL, and Irving and Taylor will not be back on NHL deals.

The way Kipper played these two games and the way he saluted the fans indicates to me he's gonna retire.

It would be poor management to not have a reliable vet to battle with and provide support to Ramo and Berra.

People are blowing this out of proportion. Forget about the post apex thing. He's here on a 1 yr deal, to help bridge to the new era of Flames goalies.

Exactly right. I think a lot of people are overthinking this. A veteran goalie on a 1 year deal with a very palatable cap hit is nothing to get ones knickers in a knot over.

Reading the tea leaves is fine and all, but I have a hard time thinking this has any relationship to whether Ramo is coming over or not.

MacD's a replacement level goaltender on a replacement level contract. Works for me.

Worth noting too that if the Flames had been able to ice replacement level goaltending all year long they might have made the playoffs.

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#44 Baalzamon
April 20 2013, 03:29PM
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I think this is just for the sake of having a known quantity going into next season. Would MacDonald be my first choice? No. That said, I don't really have a problem with this, given that he's been the team's best goalie this season. Yes, that is exactly as sad as it sounds.

At least if Ramo can't cut it in north america, and Berra is just as underwhelming as his stats imply, the Flames know exactly what they have when they put MacDonald in net. The players seem to play well enough in front of him, anyway.

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#45 FireOnIce
April 20 2013, 03:29PM
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@Colin.S

I don't like Ryan Smyth (more as a person, and as an Oiler) and would never want him on the Flames. He's not a bad player, but that's not the issue.

Here's a link to an article about the situation. Interestingly enough, trading for Ryan Smyth was supposedly the reason Regehr was being traded to Buffalo. And the Flames were believed to be getting Luke Adam. My, how Feaster bungled it all up.

http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/41003-Kings-working-on-Ryan-Smyth-trade-Flames-interested.html

You may be right though about the Flames trying to drive up Smyth's price. The real win was getting rid of his $6M cap, so they basically gave him away and there was no driving up the price.

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#46 SeanCharles
April 20 2013, 03:41PM
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@BurningSensation

I've just resided to the fact that, when it comes to trades and signings, Feaster cannot avoid criticism.

Fans seem to like his Drafting, and so they should.

If Feaster let him walk and Kipper retired and say Ramo and Berra struggle people would be upset for not getting a vet to suport the new guys.

This signing does not have any downside: cheap, reliable backup, short- term, easily can make go away if Ramo and Berra succeed, still a free asset.

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#47 Jeff In Lethbridge
April 20 2013, 04:38PM
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he is a good backup... thats why they signed him. Think joey's s'posed to sit around and hope we resign him, because we wanna wait cause there "might" be a better option later? he is as good as any backup we've had in years and cheap. in my opinion, if they are going to sign him, signing in now is the right thing. it seems like you are suggesting they are signing him as the first string stopperr?

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#48 Derzie
April 20 2013, 04:38PM
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Harder and harder to follow this team. McBackup must have dressing room impact to justify this. Between the drive-above-pick-five and the goofball moves that make post=apex a lie less than 2 weeks in, I am baffled. Feaster is 'smarter than us all' I guess, or so he thinks.

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#49 Tommynotsohuge
April 20 2013, 05:06PM
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Colin.S wrote:

You combos there are okay, but what if Kipper retires AND we can't bring Ramo over, than what?

Then we sign Emery to a deal. I'm not worried at all about what Ramo will or won't do. There will plenty of goalies to go around this off season.

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#50 Justin Azevedo
April 20 2013, 05:25PM
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@SeanCharles

the reason he can't avoid criticism is because with very few exceptions he's failed miserably.

the drafting isn't that good. it just appears to be good - the reality is many franchises across the league have picked just as many nhlers-in-waiting than the flames over the past couple of drafts. some even more.

I view the signing as poorly timed. if this contract was signed in august, 0 issues with it. ramo will be a 1a guy at best, berra is likely ahl fodder, and macdonald is below-replacement level.

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