June 06 2014 04:18PM
Jiminy. A lot of things can change in one year, can't they?
Here we are, into the meat of the Flames Fifteen, at the stage of the game where we profile the prospects in Calgary's system who actually matter, and in the prestigious Lanny McDonald number 9 spot we're featuring a guy who couldn't even make the cut last year.
Upon the completion of our Flames Fifteen: Version 2013 - a most comprehensive and totally readable series underscored by some very sound analysis even though we talked about Mark Jankowski too much - Hockeyus Emeritus Kent Wilson penned an assuaging ode to the poor few who just missed the cut, including this little gem on today's profile, Flames netminder Joni Ortio:
#16 - Joni Ortio - G
The 22-year old Finnish goalie gets lost in the mix a bit these days thanks to the success of Laurent Brossoit and Jon Gillies, both of whom made our top-10 list. Although Ortio struggled in a very brief appearance for the Abbotford Heat in 2011-12, he went back to his native land soon after and established himself as a capable starter for Markus Granlund's HIFK of the SM-liiga. Ortio started 54 of his team's 65 regular season games last year and managed a respectable .917 SV%, the 9th best save rate amongst goalies who played 40+ games in the league.
A former 6th round pick by the Flames, Ortio has never managed elite results anywhere, but last year was a strong enough step forward that he's worth keeping in the organization. Ortio may hop the pond and battle for a spot on the Heat with Brossoit and Berra, but he always has the option to go back and compete in the SM-liiga if things get too crowded in NA.
Laurent Brossoit, guys.
Needless to say, that former 6th round pick who probably should have gone back overseas looked at the collective mass of doubt, spit in it's eye, and like some renegade outlaw lurking into town under a shroud of mystery, played some pretty good hockey. (I wanted to end that analogy on a much more illustrative note, but I was never much into Westerns. It's not my fault John Wayne sucks)
June 06 2014 02:52PM
We are, at most, 6 games away from the end of the season and that means the playoff pool is winding down to what looks to be an exciting finish. Even though I know how much you guys look forward to the weekly updates, the good times can't go on forever. The Stanley Cup Finals are underway and holy hell was Game 1 ever a beauty. The Rangers came out like a house on fire, and as the game went on LA forced their will upon the Rangers. It was a great start to what I hope is a long series. My sole pool survivor, Drew Doughty, scored me a couple points but my terrible draft performance continues.
June 06 2014 09:00AM
It's June so naturally the hottest topic is the entry draft. Calgary is at 4, the highest this organization has ever picked, but there's talk of both the first (FLA) and second (BUF) overall picks being available for a price. Should the Flames make the move to ensure a shot at either Sam Reinhart or Aaron Ekblad? That obviously depends on a number of factors.
Nation World HQ
June 05 2014 03:33PM
Editor note: In case you missed it (because we did) our friends at DailyFaceoff interviewed Jay and Dan a couple weeks ago.
DailyFaceoff is based out of Canada, so naturally we tune in to TSN and other Canadian media outlets, and for our Canadian viewers, I know you love Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole. They were in Canada, but now they have become the go-to for hockey highlights in the United States. After moving to Fox Sports 1, Jay and Dan consistently kick the Fox Sports Live coverage off with the NHL playoffs.
I recently got a chance to have a chat with Jay and Dan to discuss the playoffs, the move to Fox Sports 1 and loads of other intriguing NHL topics. Enjoy!