TSN has an article today featuring Flames goaltender Karri Ramo. The Omsk Avangard starter was included in the Rene Bourque deal and is reported to have a contract with his KHL club until the end of 2013.
However, some of his quotes to TSN suggest he might be able to leave for the NHL earlier:
"The feeling that I got was that I wasn’t just put in that trade as a small part of it," Ramo said during the IIHF World Hockey Championship. "Obviously, Cammalleri and Rene Bourque were the biggest (part of the) deal, but I wasn’t just left over. I definitely felt good about it, I was happy to hear it."
Ramo says he would relish the opportunity to play behind countryman Miikka Kiprusoff, who has made at least 70 appearances in seven consecutive seasons and turns 36 in October, but Ramo has one year remaining on a contract with Omsk. Even though that deal doesn’t include an out clause, Ramo can envision a scenario where he wouldn’t spend all of next year with the team. "I can’t leave right away, but you know things always change," said Ramo. "In the KHL especially."
Obviously Ramo doesn’t completely commit to finding a way across the pond prior to the end of his KHL contract, but it’s clear his priority is coming back to the NHL and becoming a starter at some point.
A former pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Ramo had a rough introduction to the show as a youngster. It’s only in the last few years where he has really established himself as a quality professional goaltender. As Avangard’s starter, Ramo posted back-to-back .925 seasons in Russia, a save rate that was good for 7th overall amongst KHL goalies with 30+ games this season.
Ramo will turn 26 years old in July and has three quality seasons of pro performance under his belt in the second best league in the world. It’s completely unknown at this point how well goaltending translates from the KHL to the NHL, but given his age and recent history, Ramo is a guy who should at least challenge for the starters role in Calgary should the team part ways with Kipper.