Flames Re-sign Irving plus Pelech News



Some minor news out of Flamesland today. First, the club announced the re-signing of RFA Leland Irving to a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000. Second,, Former first rounder Matt Pelech was signed by the San Jose Sharks to a similar one year, two-way $550,000 contract.

Last season was the first time Irving stood as the starter for the majority of the season in his pro career. He played 61 games, winning 30 with a save percentage of .913. Oddly, the Flames article says his save rate was the 10th best in the league last year, but the truth is there were 17 better goalies by this metric. Some of them had the same measure, but even if you count them as ties, Irving lands at 13th overall.

While the youngster took a moderate step forward last year, my hopes that Irving will be anything more than a back-up at the NHL level have begun to fade. Seven of the puck stoppers with better save percentages than Irving last season were rookies. Marginal NHL back-ups like Curtis Sanford (.930) and Michael Leighton (.926) were far superior. A .913 SV% in the NHL is mediocre, let alone in the AHL. Irving’s save rate has been surprisingly stable as a professional (hovering between .913 and .905) which is eminently replaceable goaltending. Unless he starts to saves pucks at a far greater rate, Irving will join the ever growing ranks of Flames first round busts.

I think the organization shares my skepticism based on the nominal contract offered. Irving’s ELC averaged about $1.2M in terms of NHL salary per year. His new deal cuts that neatly in half and is only for a single year. The 23-year old likely has this season to prove he’s more than a merely competent AHL goalie, otherwise the team will move on.

Speaking of which, I am somewhat surprised to see Matt Pelech land an NHL contract (albeit a two-way deal). He was previously available to the league for free via waivers and no one bit. His lack of progression over the years and his seemingly unending list of serious injuries suggests a future limited to the AHL, Europe, or early retirement but it looks like the Sharks are going with the low-risk, low-reward path – at least for one year. Pelech is probably a guy who can step in as a 6th or 7th defender in a pinch, so look for him to play that role for San Jose. Some many wonder why the Flames themselves didn’t go this route with a homegrown prospect, but the truth is the organization is swimming with similar players: Brett Carson, Brendan Mikkelson, TJ Brodie, Chris Breen. There really was no pressing need to keep Pelech around for a role that already has ample competition.

  • Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea

    The Caps are an interesting bunch. I can’t believe that McPhee would want to part with Alzner or Schultz, but how do you sign Alzner? Wsh needs all those d-men to make a deep playoff run. I thought the Canucks had more than enough d-men in 2011 and yet they still ran out – no stab at them, it’s just what happened. You cannot underestimate what a vicious game of attrition is the playoffs. That said, we would have to trade for Alzner as we don’t have the second pick anymore and I don’t know what we could offer.

    I can’t see the Caps moving Semin either, as then they’ve gone full circle and now have a team full of muscle around Ovie and Backstrom. I realize that Semin was useless in the last two playoffs, but he’s a big time scorer and may be better utilized with the beefier lineup. I my mind, Semin does not fit in the Flames’ long term plans.

    I agree about not wasting your first rounder on a goalie – too unpredictable.

  • Prairie Chicken by-the-Sea

    Hey Todd, how did that Stanley Cup parade go? Have the burns on your fingers healed yet from torching that car? Nice.
    Moving on:

    I’m OK with the 1 year deal to Leiland. Ortio will definitely push him in Abbotsford which is all good. He may even get a shot in the NHL if we run into any injuries on the goaltending. We’ve been pretty spoiled with Kippers durability. Big decisions & lots of great discussions coming on Flames Nation this time next year. I just want this year to begin.

  • A18

    @ TODD

    ‘You make it so easy for my Nucks to win the title again.’

    HAHAHAHAHHA, I know we are supposed to ignore the crackheads from East Hastings but this made me nearly fall out of my seat at work with laughter.

    Some of these Canuck’s fans just crack me up so much. I’m glad to see your content with a division and presidents title. Enjoy, there is only one banner that matters and well everyone knows how many you have.

    Good luck with 2012 thing, it’s a long season where any team can come through. That’s why we have a new season every year just in case you didn’t know.

  • LOL you guys can call me a troll all you want, but keep putting your heads in the sand Calgary.

    Semin really? Mr NO show in the playoffs? Well I guess it’s perfect in Calgary, since you guys don’t make the playoffs.

    Kent Wilson I know you agree with a lot of what I wrote, but you don’t want to shake the Flames boat. No can’t say anything bad, or big Bad Kenneth King will come down and take your website away.

    We MADE it to the Finals, came ONE game away from winning it all. We have a future.

    You guys GOT worse! WORSE! NOBODY wants Hagman or Stajan. You had to give up a second round pick to get rid of Kotalik.

    • joey joe joe jr shabadoo


      Honestly, what are you doing here? you make reference in an earlier post saying the Flames/we are ‘like that nerdy guy who got excited when the hot girl brushed his arm.’ Yet you’re the guy who spends his time posting on a site for a team you don’t even cheer for. Something tells me you’re a lot closer to Screech than you are to Zach Morris.

      Make no mistake the window for the Canucks got a whole lot smaller. SJ is improved, the Hawks (who were a clearing atempt away from bouncing your asses in the first round) are better, and the Wings also have cap space to make improvements. Out east the Caps made solid moves, with a healthy line up the Penguins will be a whole lot stronger as well, and then there is that team that beat the Canucks 4-0 on your home ice in Game 7. At least when the Flames lost in 04 they were not the heavy favorites and they didn’t Sh*t the bed on home ice. You guys had everything this year. Home ice advantage through out, the bounces went your way, and the Canucks were relatively healthy, aside from losing a defenseman who was the Predators No4 the year previous.

      Your team will do next year what it has done over the last 3 years or so. They’ll win the division, maybe win a round or two, but once they run into the tough competition, they’ll fold faster than Superman on laundry day. At the end of the day, you guys are relying on red-headed swedish identical twins, a street hockey player who bites pulls hair and dives, an American who acts as though he’s owed something by the hockey universe, and a mentally fragile goalie who looks like count chocula. Your whole team is mentally fragile, and them losing game 7 just made that situation a whole lot worse. Face it, your guys just don’t have what it takes to get it done. The flames won’t win the cup next year, but neither will the Canucks.

      Now go spend the rest of your summer flipping cars and smashing windows. You should be embarrassed not pround you dolt.