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:
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) July 24, 2014
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)
Brad Treliving on Joni Ortio’s deal: “it’s a two-way deal in year one, and a one-way deal in year two.” #Flames
— Will Nault (@Fan960Nault) July 24, 2014
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:
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!