WWYDW: Ramo Money? Ramo Problems.

IMO Rene Bourque could not have made this save.

What Would You Do Wednesday Returns to talk puck-stoppers.The Flames certainly have an interesting decision ahead of them this upcoming summer in net. While it may be a little early to be getting into hypotheticals when a lot of the decision will involve what occurs over the next 19 games, let’s do it anyway because it’s fun.

Let’s talk about the goaltending future of the Flames and see a really old picture of Ramo!

Check out this picture from the ’06 WJC with Ramo linked with Tuukka Rask. FUN FACT: One of these two goalies is prone to borderline criminally-insane outbursts after being scored on (hint: not our guy).  

Over the past four games, the goaltending ball (not a perfect analogy I know) has been given back to Karri Ramo after a prolonged period of benchwarming behind Jonas Hiller. During that stretch Ramo’s numbers have been exceptionally good:

Also, thanks to Darren Haynes, we can take a look at Ramo’s numbers on the road throughout this season and they are also very good: 

However, Ramo and Hiller both currently sport identical save percentages at even strength with .922 and the Flames sit tied for 11th with a team SV% of .911. It is no secret that one of the reasons for the Flames even having a remote possibility of playoff hockey is the play of both (and even all three at times) goalies, who have taken turns playing well and even stealing games.

Heading into this season and even in the first few weeks of October, it seemed likely that Ramo would be moved sometime throughout the season as Ramo is in the final year of a deal with a cap hit of $2.75 million. Ramo’s expiring deal presented one of the few opportunities for the Flames to move an expiring asset to further help stock their prospect pool.

Well, things didn’t work out that way. The Flames are in a playoff hunt and even if they wanted to move Ramo they really couldn’t because the presumptive heir-apparent Joni Ortio injured his ankle and would no longer be available to spell off Jonas Hiller down the stretch. 

So this leaves the Flames in an interesting position. What to do with two goalies, both of which have played fairly well at times this season? Next year Joni Ortio has a one-way deal and is likely going to get a serious look in the NHL but is still a fairly unknown entity at this stage in his career. 

Another question: how do you guys feel about Ramo’s masks? I feel like his mask last year was cooler. I feel like his mask this year is a little goth-kid math notebook for me.

This raises a number of interesting questions. Is it worth parting with either Ramo or Hiller in the summer and trust that Ortio is ready for at least a backup role? If Ramo is re-signed and Hiller is moved, is a tandem of Ortio and Ramo something you would be comfortable with heading into next season? Is it likely that the Flames would jettison a known-quantity like Hiller, whom has helped stabilize the uncertainty in goal after an abysmal 2013-14 carousel of goalies? 

If somehow the Flames start the season with all three goalies again, with Ortio in the AHL (it’s possible), what would that do to Jon Gillies’ place in the organization after he is surely signed following the conclusion of his NCAA season?

I suppose if Ramo keeps this play up (which seems unlikely simply because he is putting up crazy good numbers right now) and the Flames somehow sneak into the playoffs, the Flames will be exceptionally unlikely to let him walk. However, I turn these questions over to you, wise FN readers. Tell me how to feel.

  • TheoForever

    I like both our goalies and I’m not sure which one is better, although Ramo seems to have more of an upside long term due to age difference.

    It would be nice to sign Ramo, if he wants to return with the Flames. Although, I think he will walk at the end of the season without an offer from the Flames.

    If Ramo gets a contract from Flames, then we could package Hiller with picks to go up in the draft as it was pointed.

    Never hurts to have a bunch of Finish goalies in the organization.

      • FeyWest

        Nothing wrong in that, basically just offer him the Hiller contract, 3 years shouldn’t be too detrimental and then it maintains the competition between Stockton Goalies to the Calgary Goalies and Ortio to Ramo. See what we can get for Hiller at the Draft floor. But I also wouldn’t mind keeping the two for a bit at the start of next season just to make sure Ramo or Ortio doesn’t take a step back, but I’m inherently cautious.

  • T&A4Flames

    Keep Ramo, move Hiller.

    – Hiller is older and we know what he is, a good goalie with big highs and lows.

    – Ramo is more consistent even if at times less than spectacular.

    – Ramo plays better as the season wears on and he gets a chance to play. Don’t we want a hot goalie going into the end of the season and the playoffs?

    – I like the idea of the 2 Finnish guys.

    – Hiller could bring a decent return, Ramo walks for nothing.

    – Ramo is younger.

    – How good might Ramo be right now if he was the starter from the start of the season and allowed to continue his hot play to close out last season?

    – I believe Ortio will fight for #1 by next years end. With Hiller signed only for 1 more year, does HE walk after that for no return?

    – Their #’s are comparable, all other things being equal, wouldn’t we want the younger asset?

    – Worst case, Ramo’s #’s fall a bit below league average! exposing our weakness (something Kipper covered up for years) prompting the management to react while still being in a rebuild.

    – Even if we resign Hiller, at 33 next year, how long is he a competent keeper?

    I like Hiller, but I just see Ramo as the better option along with Ortio. I would say keep both and move one mid season but I think if you move Hiller, it has to be in the summer when teams are still putting the team for the year together.

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      I agree with everything you wrote.

      2 questions remain:

      Is BT smart enough to figure it out?

      What kind of return can we expect? A decent draft pick only to be turned into longshot draft picks/ Bollig…?


      • T&A4Flames

        1. I hope so

        2. Adding a 2nd could move us up io a 1st rounder.

        Who might want a goalie of Hiller’s calibre? I can’t think Dubnyk’s success will last.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Sign Ramo. Then trade Hiller.

    Unrelated. Kingston wins 4-1. Bennett with two goals!.

    Reinhart with a big 2 goal night in Addy for the win. Must be getting more ice time with all the call ups.

    • RKD

      And Sven was the 2nd star in Utica’s win with an assist.

      Boo, this is gonna take some time getting used to! I dread his first call up – don’t wanna see him in a Canucks uniform.

    • RKD

      (So are many of us!)
      Boys! (no offence – assuming no women on this site)
      This is still a rebuild. Ortio/Gillies is the future. So you sign Ramo and now have trade assets for the draft. Doesn’t matter whether you trade Hiller or Ramo. They are the same. AND we need defence. Badly. What if Giordano is not the same post injury?

  • RKD

    I think it’s hard to say who’s better, they have both looked really sharp at times and both have had stretches where they looked ordinary. I don’t think you could say one guy has been vastly better than the other. When one struggles, the other seems to rise to the occasion. Neither of them have been terrible at the same time even with that 8 game losing streak. Even though Ramo is on an expiring deal he is 5 years younger than Hiller and could probably give you a few more years. However, Ortio has looked very solid, you would probably get more return for Hiller given his pedigree.

  • RKD

    It doesn’t matter if the end goal is to keep Ramo or not as you don’t want him to walk for nothing like cammmy did. A ton of teams need goalies and I’m sure one of them will take a flyer on either hiller or Ramo. I’m in the Ramo camp and would hope to keep him over hiller for all the reasons other ppl have said (younger/hiller may bring back more etc) but either way you gotta maximize your assets and not let them walk away for nothing.