Housekeeping: Flames Sign Joni Ortio



On the heels of Joe Colborne’s recent contract signing, the Calgary Flames continue to put checkmarks next to their summer to-do list, as the team announced they have re-signed restricted free agent goaltender and devastatingly handsome Joni Ortio to a fresh two year pact:

Joni Loves Hockey


Joni, a young 23 years old, appeared in 37 contests last season with the Abbotsford Heat, going 27-8 in those games with a very sexy .926 save percentage, while also checking in for 4 playoff games with the Heat in the postseason. His performance paved the way for Joni playing 9 games up with the parent club in Calgary, where he went 4-4 with an .891 save percentage, but don’t let that number fool you: there were stretches where Ortio proved he could hang at the NHL level, and with continued development, he’s going to eventually get his chance, whether it’s in Calgary or elsewhere.

(Ortio also appeared in 7 games with the Alaska Aces, but no one gives a damn about that)

The new contract, as mentioned, is a 2 year deal, which is more or less all we know, but we’ll go ahead and assume it’s a 2 way contract, as he’s going to be hard pressed for playing time with Calgary while incumbents Karri Ramo and Jonas Hiller are fighting for minutes. Ortio himself will be anchored in Glen Falls, playing all the minutes as “goalie of the future” Jon Gillies returns to Providence College this fall, eliminating any possible logjam in goal. (Thanks to you Citizens who pointed this out, exposing how little research I did on the Flames AHL goaltending situation)


Well there you go. This kinda makes sense, as Karri Ramo is a free agent after this season, so maybe the thinking is Ramo walks after this year with Ortio backing up Hiller next season.

The Flames, who did not tender potential RFA Olivier Roy and let him walk, signed Brad Thiessen to a contract to back up for Ortio in New York. You may remember Thiessen from those 5 games in Pittsburgh a few years back where he came out of nowhere and was still better than Marc-Andre Fleury. That said, everyone is better than Fleury, and don’t expect him to be pushing Ortio for much playing time.

Still, having 4 goalies of this caliber under contract is a good thing, as you can never have too much goalie depth, and it serves as a nice insurance policy for Calgary in the case of, as it was last year, nagging injury woes. The Flames will have confidence calling Ortio up for backup minutes should one of Hiller/Ramo need time on the IR, as he’s done it before and done so admirably. Also he’s not Reto Berra, which is terrific.

Also, while we’re on the subject, what in the hell is this about:



What’s Next

Well, we’ve gone over that quite a bit here in the past few weeks, but it’s a slow news day, so let’s go over it all again, and you can just quit your damn whining.

As far as remaining RFAs, only Lance Bouma and Mark Cundari remain unsigned. One suspects Bouma is on the verge of re-upping and should be a smooth process, and for Cundari, well, who cares? It gets done or it doesn’t.

Of course, and you know this, the big priority left is to get pending RFAs Mikael Backlund and T.J. Brodie extended, and I mean like…porn star extended. Those need to be some lengthy deals, citizens. One assumes that’s on the front burner right now and Brad Treliving is doing his level best (whatever that is) to get some traction on that.

I guess an appropriate Glencross extension is on the table too, but let’s wait and see on that. Perhaps a depth defenseman to limit how much we ever see Deryk Engelland.

We’re going to see Deryk Engelland a lot.

So with that in mind, good luck to you, Joni Ortio and all other Flames goaltenders!

  • beloch

    • Two goalies who appear capable of league average save percentages on the NHL team.
    • One promising prospect who appears ready for a NHL backup job, but who is instead getting valuable experience in the AHL.
    • A prospect with a very high ceiling indeed is being allowed to mature in college at his own pace.
    • MacBackup has been shown the door.

    It looks like the Flames have finally recovered from losing Kipper!

  • Rockmorton65

    Love this.

    This year – Hiller/Ramo in Cgy and Ortio/Thiessen in the AHL

    Next year – Hiller/Ortio in Cgy and Gilles/veteran backup in the AHL

    Before the end of Hillers deal, Ortio/Gilles and McDonald(?)/another prospect

    Looks like some decent depth we’re building.

      • beloch

        Ramo and Hiller had identical overall save percentages last season, in spite of the fact that Ramo struggled mightily to adapt to North American ice in the first part of the season and had to climb out of a hole! Ramo could easily prove to be the better of this pair. Ramo is also four years younger than Hiller, which could prove significant.

  • MonsterPod

    Man, I guess I’m old.

    I’m still trying to get over not having Kipper in goal anymore.

    For years the net was just not an issue or topic of conversation.

    It was, “All right, we got Kipper. Now let’s tweak what’s in front of him.”

    I miss him, but we’re rebuilding now.

    Let’s just hold off on the “Next Kipper” name-calling until one of these new guys starts killing it.

  • BitGeek

    Is Calgary still looking to hire a goaltending coach?

    On a related note I saw an interesting retweet on roger millions account from kipper. What are the odds that Kipper ends up back in Calgary as the goalie coach?

    • I’ve heard out of nowhere rumours about Kipper taking that job, but I’d be surprised. He seems like the kind of guy who would be happy staying away from the pro game at this point, especially with a young family.

      This is based on nothing, of course, just my interpretation of the kind of guy Kipper is.

      the conversation with Treliving that the Will Nault tweet is from up above, he also mentioned they’re close to naming a goalie coach and filling out the assistant coaches for Adirondack, so I guess these questions will all be answered soon!

  • Derzie

    I gave up on him when he went back to Finland to play in 2012, but I very happy that he came back stronger than ever.

    I guess the lesson here is to not give up too early on young goalies.

    But for the love of Lanny McDonald’s mustache don’t draft goalies in round 1 or 2. 😛

      • BitGeek

        Could be, but why start tweeting about Flames notables now? After he’s retired? He has like 23 tweets on his account and all of a sudden he has 3 tweets about the Flames and 2 are about goalies. I find it interesting even if it is purely coincidental. ;o)

        • BitGeek

          Actually I think I should have spent more time reading Kippers feed. There’s a bunch of tweets earlier on saying he didn’t want the goaltending coach position. So if it really is Kipper then yeah the tweet I posted was probably just about the signing of Ortio

    • Greg

      The two-way part of his deal is the last year of his waiver exemption. He signed his ECL as a 20 year old (March 30, 2011 per capgeek) which means he has 4 years of waiver ineligibility unless he first plays 80 NHL games. He has played 9 in those three years, so he will become waiver elible come year two of this contract.

      This info is per so I could be mistaken.

      More interesting to me is how this will impact our deployment of Gaudreau should he not be top six viable next season. Signing as a 21 year old means he gets 3 years or 80 games of ineligibility… But we already used one of those years. Gaudreau needs to prove he fits in our plans before his ELC expires or we lose him.

      Granted, I think he can easily meet those expectations. I did not anticipate that we would have so little time though. Arnold, despite being a year older, gets the same time and only 10 games fewer. Though with Arnold, we are not risking a St. Louis situation. I suspect we’ll know awfully quick what we have with him.

      Tl;Dr I understand now why management lost patience with St. Louis… Hard to be patient when waiver exemption runs out so quickly, particularly with small players who struggle to provide meaningful contributions on energy/checking lines.