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.
SUM IT UP
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.