1. The goaltending situation
When the Flames put Joey MacDonald on waivers — as they should have, but hey didn’t they just give him a one-year deal this summer? — and called up Reto Berra, few probably expected that he’d be any good at all, let alone give up just two goals on 44 shots to the Blackhawks.
Then Tuesday night against Minnesota, he did more along the lines of what everyone expected of him, allowing five goals on 24 shots, because nothing gold can stay. At least in Calgary. At least these days.
So it seems that at some point the team is just going to have to accept its situation for what it is, right? The goaltending last year was bad. Some of the worst in recent memory across the league. This year, it’s just as ugly. Worse, in fact. That .891 team save percentage is actually three points higher than the current .888, and one has to imagine that there is at some point no getting better. How many goalies can you shuffle through the system in a two-year period and get the same result before you say, “Well this is on us.” Is it a million? Because right now the number of goalies the Flames have used in the last two seasons is at six, with only MacDonald bridging both.
Here are the total results in terms of games played and save percentage at the time of writing, presented in order of best to worst: Dany Taylor (2, .912), Joey MacDonald (28, .898), Reto Berra (2, .897), Karri Ramo (6, .888), Leland Irving (6, .883), and Miikka Kiprusoff (24, .882). That’s six goalies, only two of which played more than six games, and only one of which posted a save percentage north of .898.
This is a major issue that Jay Feaster might want to figure out sometime soon if he’s actually serious about being competitive. Which he shouldn’t be.
2. Early sales
I’ve seen a lot of stuff in the past few days about how teams want to go shopping but aren’t necessarily eager to take on much in the way of contracts, given that the salary cap offers them so little in the way of flexibility. Isn’t this something Calgary should be looking to take advantage of?
Some teams, like the Maple Leafs, for example, are probably desperate for help given their injury situations, or simply because things aren’t working out like they’d hoped when the season began. It seems like this is a market inefficiency Jay Feaster should be happy to deal with. He can take on a little bit of money (well, he can take on a lot, actually) in expiring contracts plus picks and prospects, and offload some guys who might have some value on the market. Matt Stajan, for example. Chris Butler. That kind of thing.
Just kidding on Butler.
Teams need help. Calgary should be more than willing to provide it for a price.
It’s important to note, though, that you have to strike the balance between feeding off desperation and getting the best return when there’s more of a bidding war. I saw in 30 Thoughts about Dale Tallon shopping basically every veteran on his roster, and that’s not the approach the Flames should be taking, obviously. Targeting select teams with select guys who can help is a good idea, maybe.
Cammalleri is a guy who’s likely to go to a high bidder at the deadline. I’m not sure the market for Stajan will be especially great, at least in comparison with what you might be able to weasel out of Toronto in particular. It’s something to think about, for sure. You have to look at all your options, and I’d hope for his sake that Feaster’s doing exactly that.
4. Another Providence College update
No points for Mark Jankowski this weekend (and only one shot on goal in two games against Boston University) but all the Flames’ other prospects had solid weekends.
Jon Gillies split the series with BU, going 1-1 but posting a combined save percentage of just .907. Most of that was the giving up four on 25 on Friday, before rebounding against the same team and stopping 28 of 29. He’s 4-1-1 on the season with a save percentage of .938, and GAA of 1.97. Interestingly, though, he gave up four goals in two straight starts before that rebound one-goal effort.
John Gilmour likewise had a decent enough effort, because while he didn’t post any points and like Jankowski had just one shot, he was on the ice for two Providence goals for (including a shortie) and only one against. That one, though, was the game-winner and at even strength, but it was, in all fairness, scored by BU’s best offensive player.
Still room to grow, I guess. I’m not sold on this team beyond Gillies.
5. And about BC
While I didn’t get to see either of Providence’s games, I did take in a hell of a Saturday night contest between BC and Northeastern and the latter’s home rink. As you might have expected, Johnny Gaudreau shredded the Huskies defense for three goals on 10 shots on the weekend, but that one I saw was mighty impressive. It starts at 2:00 in this video:
To be able to see, at full speed and with a defenseman holding the inside position, that he even had the chance to bank it in off the skate of the goaltender is amazing. That he thought to do it, more so. That he actually succeeded, well, that’s why he’s Johnny Gaudreau.
"He sees the ice better than anyone I’ve ever played with,” said Patrick Brown, who scored a shorthanded goal earlier in the contest.
Oh and Billy Arnold had assists on all three of Gaudreau’s goals. As you’d expect.