Flames Re-Sign Leland Irving



Word on the street is that presumptive #2/#3 goaltender Leland Irving has re-signed with the Calgary Flames.

The deal the Flames and Irving agreed to strikes me as curious: a one-year, two-way worth $687,500 at the NHL level and $207,500 at the AHL level. That indicates to me that the org doesn’t think Irving can be a full-time NHLer yet – hell, Feaster gave Henrik Karlsson a two-year, one-way deal last year after like 15 games. I also question why it took so long to sign this deal, which if I recall correctly is pretty much the same one that Irving agreed to last year.

Irving performed well on occasions this season, but performed… not-so-well just as many times. You all know the criticisms, comparables and expectations – so it’ll be interesting to see how this season shakes out for Irving. Kudos to Jay Feaster for getting Irving on a two-way, and for cheap. 

Irving was the 5th ranked prospect on Flames Nation’s Flames Fifteen.

  • RexLibris

    Interesting indeed. I bet the delay in signing the deal was Irving’s camp pushing for a 1-way deal, and after this length of time they must have felt that this was the best they could do. Irving had no leverage really, so it’s not that surprising he got a 2-way.

    • I'm Just Sayin'

      Continue to sour? Where do you get that from?

      He signed the best contract offered to him. I’ll bet he is pretty happy he has another year of stability with a young family to feed.

      He could always get a real job, but probably not at $207,500 per. This is the only team he will get a chance to show his stuff with and he will continue to improve or move on.

      He showed he could play last year, the Boston fiasco notwithstanding. Except for two absolutely horrible calls in overtime on the road, he could have had two more wins and thus more confidence and starts. Imagine if he had a team in front of him who actually gave their all when he was in.

  • Michael

    I’m not sure that Irving is a full time NHLer
    either, I think he might be, but goalie’s don’t have predictable development pattern’s.
    AHL or NHL, Irving needs playing time…

  • RexLibris

    Did the European interest in Irving falter and force him into accepting a do-over contract?

    Also, does Irving remain an RFA at the end of this contract, or does this usher him into unrestricted status?

    This would seem to imply that Feaster intends for the goaltending situation this year to essentially be a rerun of last season. Not certain that is a good thing, but without finding a way to jettison Karlsson I don’t see that Feaster was left with very many options. Too many contracts and too many holes to fill.

  • Sworkhard

    This pretty much means that the battle for backup starts and ends in training camp. If Irving wins, he’s not a lot more expensive than Karlsson. If Irving gets sent down though, he now needs to go through re-entry waivers to come back up as his AHL salary is > 105000, and there’s almost certainly going to be a team that will take him in that case (unless the rules change in the new CBA)

    • Sworkhard

      if Irving is, indeed, subject to waivers, I don’t know that we have much to fear, actually. It’s unlikely he’d be claimed by a team so he could play in the AHL–meaning he’s more likely to be claimed by a team looking for a backup goalie. Which means that he’d have to clear re-entry waivers again, and the Flames could then claim him back. We saw something similar with Phoenix’s Brett MacLean (a forward, I know) last season, though that was waivers on the way to being sent back to the AHL, not re-entry.

  • MC Hockey

    Intersting stuff. I think Leland realized the Flames are his best NHL shot with an aging Kipper, an unproven Karlsson, the Flames owning his future, and his inability (due to family reasons) to go overseas. I hope he just takes the reigns in training camp and runs with it and Karlsson perhaps is sent down to AHL, maybe never to return. If things go well, perhaps he plays 20 NHL games and wins 11-13. Let’s hope so!

  • MC Hockey

    Hey Baalzamon, I don’t think what you describe is how waivers work….can anyone clarify? Here is what I believe:

    If Flames send Irving (or Karlsson) down, the other team gets the player at full price (takes over entire NHL/AHL contract). Only if the other team sends Irv/Karl down later do they risk losing him and that would force them to absorb half the contract.

  • Here’s where Irving’s $207,500 AHL salary fits in with the other two-way contracts:

    $275,000 – Walter
    $207,500 – Irving
    $150,000 – Byron
    $105,000 – Aliu, Piskula, Kolanos, Street
    $70,000 – Cervenka, Baertschi, Lamb
    $67,500 – Howse, Reinhart, Ortio, Ferland
    $65,000 – Brodie, Nemisz, Cameron, Wahl
    $62,500 – Horak
    $60,000 – Bouma
    $55,000 – Martin, Elson, Patterson, Bancks
    $52,500 – Eddy, Breen

  • beloch

    This is a “prove yourself” contract just like what Backlund got. Like Backlund, Irving showed promise last season but didn’t prove himself either. This contract allows Irving to cash-in after next season if he manages to displace Karlsson and successfully spell Kipper for more than a handful of games. If he doesn’t do well the Flames can trade Irving or simply not resign him and then bring Karri Ramo over for the 2013-2014 season.

    Maybe Irving had a chance to play in Europe that didn’t pan out, but now he has a chance to play in the NHL and abundant motivation to perform well. Feaster gets a cheap back-up with upside. Good contract for everyone.

    • RexLibris

      Would someone like Brent Johnson have been a better backup?

      It seems as though the clock has run out on Irving and the only reason Karlsson is around is because of the contract.

      I think you’re right in that, ideally they would have preferred a more solid backup to Kiprusoff, but given the knot that they have around the development and contract status of Irving and Karlsson, this was the best they could manage.


    With Ramo coming in next year, I foresee a goalie trade just beyond the horizon. Ramo will be a backup right away with the possibility of becoming a starter, so we know he IS in the future plans. That leaves Kipper and Irving as trade bait this upcoming season.

    I doubt Irving will steal the starting job and displace kipper, so to me it seems like they will play Irving enough this year to increase his trade value.

    On the flip side, if Irving plays well enough I can see Kipper being traded for a much higher return than what Irving would bring. That would leave Ramo and Irving fighting for the 1 spot, neither of which instills confidence in me at this time.

  • RexLibris

    About Ramo:

    Is it a certainty that he is coming over to N.A.?

    I haven’t read definitively that he either is or isn’t coming over. I think I remember seeing something about one year remaining on his contract, but I could be wrong there.

    I ask because there seem to be a lot of commenters here treating this as fait accompli.

    • he has stated that he likes the idea of playing with Kiprusoff, and that he fully intends to return to NA. He will return. But not this year.

      he does have 1 year left on his KHL contract, and he’ll fulfill that this season.

      by “next year” I think ALL THE WAY IN meant 2013/14

  • The Flames really like Ramo and gave up a pretty good prospect (Patrick Holland) to get his rights.

    Ramo knows the Flames really like him, and they brought over Cervenka, who’s an old teammate of Ramo’s from Avangard Omsk.

    Ramo’s KHL contract is over next year and it SEEMS from the outside (and partially from the inside) like the Flames will do what they have to do to bring him over.

    • I think it was the 2nd rounder that went for Ramo. Holland went for the 5th, and to offset some of the residual value the Flames got between Cammalleri vs Bourque and Ramo vs the 2nd. The Flames still won that trade, though.

  • RexLibris

    @Ryan and Baalzamon

    So that means that Kiprusoff will be backed up this season by Irving while Karlsson and Taylor vie for time in the AHL?

    I’d still argue that Brent Johnson would be a safer bet as a backup. Perhaps not ultimately a better player, but more a known quantity.

    As for the Cammalleri trade, I’m not convinced the Flames won that deal. I’d say it was a wash.

    They got the best player at the time, but he is signed to a significant contract. He serves Calgary’s purpose in the short term, while the 2nd round pick will likely prove to be very valuable to the rebuilding Canadiens in a deep draft year.

    Also I suspect that Feaster will end up trying to re-acquire a 2nd round pick this June, incurring additional cost to the trade.

    Ramo and Holland still have to play some games before their impact in the deal can be evaluated.

    • RexLibris

      “I’d still argue that Brent Johnson would be a safer bet as a backup. Perhaps not ultimately a better player, but more a known quantity.”

      no argument here

      “As for the Cammalleri trade, I’m not convinced the Flames won that deal. I’d say it was a wash.”

      obviously it’s just the biased opinion of a Flames fan, but the reason I say the Flames won is because Cammalleri is better (and younger) than Bourque, and Ramo stands at least as good a chance of becoming a starting goalie as a 2nd round pick does of becoming a regular, unremarkable, NHLer (which I believe is 15%). The Flames also managed to make a decent pick with that 5th rounder in Ryan Culkin.

    • RexLibris

      I believe we won the trade in that I believe Cammy and Ramo will do well but more importantly I think Cammy sets a much better example for the young guys coming up than Bourque. Cammy has a very strong work ethic and I loved how he jumped in to help Aliu in game 82 last year.

  • RexLibris

    Rene Bourque was born Dec 10, 1981, Cammalleri was born June 8, 1982. Yeah, he’s younger but that seems like a bit of a reach. 😉

    Ramo alone for a 2nd round pick isn’t necessarily bad. But if the Flames had left out Holland and the Canadiens had left out the 5th round pick (to recoup another of Feaster’s pick-trading mistakes, I believe) might they not have been able to have sent away a 3rd or 4th round pick instead in order to even up accounts?

    It just seems sometimes like Feaster starts trade negotiations and then keeps piling things on, as though more is always better. This can lead to compounding mistakes that don’t think the team has that much room to make.

    And heck, be biased. That is what these forums are for, right?

    BTW, would the Flames have interest in Omark? A playmaking RW to slot in ahead of Stempniak and Jackman? Just a thought.

    • RexLibris

      “It just seems sometimes like Feaster starts trade negotiations and then keeps piling things on, as though more is always better. This can lead to compounding mistakes that don’t think the team has that much room to make.”

      that pattern certainly showed up in the Regehr trade, adding Kotalik, then adding the 2nd round pick to get Byron back in the return. It could have simply been Regehr for Butler and Byron, and the Flames would have been better off (arguably) with Kotalik heading for Europe. They might even have still done the trade down (since they apparently always wanted Jankowski) and ended up with 2 2nds. Well. No use crying for the road not traveled, I suppose.

      I’m not the right person to ask about Omark. I’ve never been a fan. Anyway, seems too much like Hudler, and I think Stempniak’s 2 way ability makes it unneccessary. The Flames already have too many wingers, anyway. If Baertschi makes the team, that means Cervenka and Cammalleri both play center, and Comeau lines up on the 4th line. If anything, I’d be looking to subtract a winger.

  • RexLibris


    Kelly Hrudey agrees with you. 😉

    Yeah, comparing work ethic or (one of my favourite misuses of the English language) “compete” between Bourque and Cammalleri, the Flames win hands down.

    This could be a very interesting deal to parse down in three years’ time.

    • “This could be a very interesting deal to parse down in three years’ time.”

      not least because Bourque will still be on the same contract, while Cammy will be on a new one.

      even more interesting in, say, a half dozen years when we have a better indication of where the draft picks and Patrick Holland end up.

    • loudogYYC

      Flames got a more established, somewhat versatile player in Cammalleri that has 2 years left on a contract.
      Canadiens got a player with potential who doesn’t seem to give a damn since Dinosaur Sutter signed him to a 6 year contract. 4 years left of Bourque at $3.3M is way more troublesome than 2 years left of Cammalleri at $6M.

      I bet you anything Bourque and Gomez are the biggest issue Bergevin has right now.

  • loudogYYC

    @ loudog: Ive seen on Montreal threads that they are already proposing trades to get rid of Bourque. It didnt take long for him to underwhelm them & yeah, 4 more years, yucchh. I like the deal Flames made.A 2nd for Ramo who I think is better established in a professional league& is way better value than what it would take to get Bernier from LA. I would put both goalies potential as pretty comparable.

  • McRib

    Cammalleri is going to have a bounce back year, the last full season he played in Calgary he had 82 Points. Cannot wait for the season to get going (Sans lockout)

    Rene Bourque has to be one of the laziest players in the whole NHL. If he cared for anything other than collecting a pay check he would be an All-Star and score 35-40 goals regularly.

    Unfortunately for Rene Bourque, (who I personally watched on multiple occasions, troll for women at Craft the night before games). Montreal is the biggest party city in North America and his career will go to S**t there. Just ask the Kostitsyn’s, Chris Higgen’s, Carey Price (Before he smartened up), etc.