What Are The Goalie Options With Ramo Out?

So, last night Karri Ramo went down with an apparent groin injury. Considering he had to be carried off the ice, that could be a problem as the Flames try to make the playoffs.

Why? Because two pretty good goalies is better than just one, and now it’s all on the Swiss shoulders of Jonas Hiller.

Presuming Ramo’s done for a bit, what are Calgary’s goalie options?


Nope. Ortio is just starting to skate now after suffering a high ankle sprain before the trade deadline. He’s the most preferable option, as he was stellar during his brief call-up to Calgary and knows the team and systems, but there’s no way he’ll be back at 100% before the playoffs.


The most likely option, Thiessen is a decent AHL goalie. He’s a veteran, with NHL games under his belt. Granted, he’s a 29-year-old AHL back-up whose five NHL games came three years ago – for reference’s sake, Ortio’s played more NHL minutes this season (273) than Thiessen has in his career (258).

That’s only really an issue if Thiessen is going to actually play, though, and if your mindset is “Well, I guess it’s Jonas Hiller or bust!” you’re probably perfectly fine with rewarding Thiessen with a spot on the NHL bench. (And I was an advocate of trading away Ramo at the deadline and riding Thiessen anyway, so this seems like a fine option.)

And if you’re not, things get dicey.


Carr is the AHL back-up. He spent most of this season with the ECHL’s Colorado Eagles. He’s a former college goalie who’s a first-year pro. He’s rarely played in the AHL this season and is only signed to an AHL deal, meaning he’s not on Calgary’s reserve list and therefore, if he was signed he wouldn’t be able to dress in the playoffs. And it seems inadvisable to go to the number-five goalie in the system for any reason.


McDonald is on Calgary’s reserve list as an unsigned draft pick, but has a knee injury. He also doesn’t have a contract and would need to be signed before he could play, even in the playoffs.


Gillies is on Calgary’s reserve list as an unsigned draft pick, but his Providence College hockey team is in the Frozen Four next weekend – at the same time as the Flames’ final two games of the season. Presumably, the Flames will endeavour to sign Gillies anyway and get him to the team as a Black Ace. If he were signed, he could play, but he’s not signed and won’t be until the playoffs have begun.


It almost has to be Brad Thiessen. He’s the only goalie that has an NHL contract and isn’t injured. Every other option either has no contract (Carr, Gillies) or is injured (McDonald, Ortio) or both.

    • MattyFranchise

      Trading either goalie at the deadline would have been a boneheaded move. KEEP ALL OF THE GOALIES. You never know what’s going to happen with them until it’s already happened so just keep as many as you can. Because sometimes, this happens.

      • Greg

        I’m guessing the flames were listening to offers on Ramo until Ortio was injured.

        Crazy that 3 of the top 5 goalies in the system are injured now, and the other 1 (Gilles) isn’t even available if we wanted. It won’t matter as long as Hiller stays healthy, but boy if he got hurt right now…

        When is the latest the frozen four finishes? And does Gilles get to burn a year if he just sits on the bench or does he actually have to play?

        • MattyFranchise

          I believe that the Frozen Four finishes on the 11th. And as far as I know the goalie contract starts after a set number of games actually played. At the very least, the requirements are different than skaters. So… I would think that Gillies wouldn’t burn a year off of an ELC if he just dresses as the back up but doesn’t actually play.

  • MattyFranchise

    Depending on the length of the injury to Ramo I think the most likely scenario is that Hiller plays the last three games, Gillies gets signed after the Frozen Four and sits as back up in the playoffs until (if?) Ramo comes back.

    If memory serves, the last day of the NHL regular season is April 11 which is also the last day of the Frozen Four so it would be good timing for Gillies especially if Providence wins it all. He’ll be riding a high of success and confidence coming up to Calgary.

    At any rate, I have no problem with riding Hiller, he’s been in a pressure cooker situation before with the Ducks, I think he will handle it just fine.

  • Burnward

    Is Ramo still a free agent this summer?

    If so; this injury is not going to help his case for a big contract.

    Could actually work in the Flames favour…..


    • Greg

      But Walter, this probably means the Flames will have to draft another goalie this summer. I know you won’t like it and will moan about it at the time.

      Just try and remember it is due to a quality goalie going down and putting the Flames in a deficit position as a result.

  • The Real Slim Brodie

    Will Giordano be ready to play if we make it deep into the playoffs…..if we make it..I can see the canucks slipping and could be a candidate to miss the playoffs if they lose to la the pressure will be on them