The Calgary Flames announced today that Henrik Karlsson has been re-signed to a two year deal worth $1.725M over two years (862k cap hit).
There isn’t much to be worried or excited about when it comes to the signing. Karlsson didn’t play enough last season for anyone to really get a sense of whether he’ll ever be more than a back-up goalie at this level. He had some markedly good games mixed with some markedly poor ones, although his celebratory fist-pump and enthusiasm during shoot-out wins became iconic as the season progressed.
Karlsson finished the year with a slightly better SV% than Kipper (.908 vs .906), but that’s entirely due to a ridiculous .922 PK SV%, which isn’t sustainable. His ES SV% was entirely mediocre (.905), but he only saw 300 shots at 5-on-5 so small sample size caveats apply. The data is in short supply, but there’s no indications he’ll be ready to usurp Kipper or anything and that’s given the fact that Kipper isn’t an elite goalie anymore.
The deal is short and relatively inexpensive, so no complaints there. Flames probably weren’t going to do much better in the free agent market and this gives Leland Irving another season as the Heat’s starter. I know some folks were hoping Irving would get a chance to make the jump this season, but the truth is more games in the AHL would be better for his development than sitting on the bench for 65+ games in the bigs. In addition, it’s not like Irving has nothing left to learn in the AHL – he’s been Abbotsford’s starter for all of one season and he has yet to really stack up with the best in the minors in terms of save rates as a pro.