AGD: Seeking Redemption


Time: 8:00pm

Location: Abbotsford Sports and Entertainment Centre


Leland Irving got a chance to make an impression with the Flames organizationlast night with his first start in nearly a month. It didn’t go well. The former first rounder let in 3 goals in 10 shots in the opening period, essentially sealing he clubs fate in the first 20 minutes. Danny Taylor replaced him in the second, but the damage was done.

Irving now has a steep mountain to climb heading into Flames training camp. After making a decent impression in his cup of coffee with the team last season, he subsequently lost his starting position to Taylor on the farm and the usurpation has held (deepened, in fact) this year. Barry Burst pushed Irving even further away from the Abbotsford crease and through the first 3+ months of play, Irving has only six games and managed a ghastly .878 SV%.

If the team was uncertain about the 24-year old’s future prior to his stint on the farm, his struggles have more than likely solved those doubts. Unless he comes to camp, blows the doors off and steals every game he appears in as a back-up, Irving will be looking for a new home come the off-season.

The Heat, on the other hand, had a good start the year but have petered out recently. December brought a lack of scoring and reduced puck stopping thanks to regression and injuries and thus far there doesn’t seem to be any end to the dry spell.

The loss to the Wolves (tonight’s opponents as well) was the club’s 12th in the last 16 games. They still lead the Western Conference in terms of goals against (77), but are also second last in terms of offense (81). The positive goal differential and effective offensive suppression are good, but at some point the team will need to start hitting the back oft he net again if they want to stay in the race.

Sum It Up

The Heat are mired hip deep in a losing spell and the players who would be most able to dig them out will soon be called up to the parent club. Troy Ward and those remaining on the roster will need to find a way to direct more pucks on net – and more importantly, behind the opposition goalies.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I just can’t see Feaster taking a gamble with Irving or Karlsson this season.. If Ramo is not available, there has to be a trade in the works to bring in a proper back-up.. Bishop maybe? I guess there are not a lot of options at this point.. Who would be a good trade target? Thomas? lol

    • beloch

      What gamble? The plan is ride Kipper, just like it was last year, and the year before that, and the year before that… Kipper’s made out of rubber and kevlar. Injuries to him are unpossible!

  • beloch

    Looks like the Heat had a lucky game. They were outshot 25-16, but won 4-1. Scorak notched a goal and Baertschi got a goal and an assist. Despite the fact that several players going to camp tomorrow also played in this game, Irving wasn’t even on the bench.

    Update: This game was in October. The Heat’s game-by-game list updates at the bottom, and I am an idiot.

  • Vintage Flame

    They were talking on the Fan 960 how the decline of Irving basically started in the devastating loss to the Bruins last year.

    It seems that once he was demoted back to Abby, and subsequently lost his starting gig to Taylor, that it was even more of a blow to his ego, and his confidence.

    I find it somewhat ironic that it was Karlsson’s ineptitude that led to Irving being called up, and as a result the door opening for Taylor. To some degree, is Irving a victim of circumstances, or is his plight all on him?

    In the end, I just don’t see Leland getting another shot with the club, not this year at least. If he doesn’t play this year, then another door opens for the Flames when Ramo is able to come over the pond.

    While I expect Kipper to play ALL 48 games, it is most likely going to be Karlsson riding the pine in the Dome. Not sure what this means for Irving, but I think he is definitely sharing a special category with Nemisz now.

    • beloch

      A lot of great goalies seem to have ice in their veins, as if nothing bothers them. That’s not Irving, and he needs to develop some mental fortitude if he’s going to make it in the NHL.

      I think Irving has more upside than Karlsson. He has elite tools and *could* be a better goalie. However, once he is mentally defeated he is a far worse goalie and, as we’ve seen, isn’t even AHL caliber. Hopefully the Flames have him booked with a sports-shrink.

      For the record, Karlsson gets pretty passionate about being scored on too.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      “Not sure what this means for Irving, but I think he is definitely sharing a special category with Nemisz now.”

      Yup, another failed Sutter draft pick.

  • RKD

    This seems to have Brent Krahn written all over it. It’s too bad if Irving is struggling in the AHL. It feels like whomever the Flames pin their future goalie hopes on don’t seem to pan out. The injuries to Irving certainly don’t help his cause.

    The Flames brass will probably want Rammo as the next starter and then have Ortio/Karlsson/Taylor battle for the backup role or trade for a veteran backup.