2014-15 By The Numbers: #31 Karri Ramo

The Calgary Flames acquired Karri Ramo a few years back, almost as an after-thought. He was included in the trade that sent Rene Bourque, prospect Patrick Holland and a second round pick (used for goalie Zachary Fucale) to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Mike Cammalleri, Ramo’s rights and a late-round pick (used for Ryan Culkin). Ramo was playing with Avangard Omsk of the KHL at the time, and the hope was that maybe he’d come over and maybe he’d be decent.

Well, the good news is that he’s been decent. The bad news is he’s been streaky.

First off, these past two seasons were fundamentally the first two seasons of Ramo’s NHL career. Prior to joining the Flames last season on a two-year deal that lured him back from Soviet Russia, he played 48 games with Tampa over three seasons (while yo-yoing between there and the AHL), so he didn’t have a lot of stability.

Now that he’s played 74 games for Calgary, I think we know a little bit more about Ramo than we did before. And what we know is he’s not quite as good as Jonas Hiller right now.

Here’s their rolling five-game even-strength save percentage:

There’s variability in both men’s performances, you’ll notice that the black line (Hiller) is almost always above the right line (Ramo). Even with the occasional dips and wobbles, Hiller is basically a consistently better goalie than Ramo. Granted, Ramo’s had some really good stretches and stolen some games – particularly during that seven-game road trip where Mark Giordano went down.

In terms of the three areas of scoring chances (high-danger = slot, medium-danger = home plate, low-danger = everywhere else):

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 1.04.59 PM

  • Low-Danger Save Percentage: 96.9%
  • Medium-Danger Save Percentage: 93.1%
  • High-Danger Save Percentage: 84.2%

Ramo’s other issue may be durability. He’s good, but he missed two stretches due to injury – six games in January where he was replaced by Joni Ortio and three games near the end of the season that meant the team resorted to recalling Brad Thiessen (and then Ortio). He missed another 15 games last spring, too.

Right now, Ramo’s in a weird spot. He’s established himself as a perfectly fine back-up goalie and a steady NHL goaltender, but he’s not a consistent game-stealer – it’s his consistency that’s his main problem. And with Joni Ortio on a one-way contract next season, and with Ortio’s waiver exemption used up, that means it’s very likely that the NHL tandem next season will be Jonas Hiller and Joni Ortio.

And that means pending unrestricted free agent Karri Ramo will almost definitely be playing elsewhere next season. It’s not that he’s a bad goalie, it’s that he’s not quite as good as Hiller.


#1 Jonas Hiller #19 David Jones
#3 David Schlemko #21 Mason Raymond
#4 Kris Russell #23 Sean Monahan
#5 Mark Giordano #24 Jiri Hudler
#6 Dennis Wideman #25 Brandon Bollig
#7 T.J. Brodie #29 Deryk Engelland
#8 Joe Colborne #31 Karri Ramo
#11 Mikael Backlund #32 Paul Byron
#13 Johnny Gaudreau #33 Raphael Diaz
#15 Ladislav Smid #60 Markus Granlund
#17 Lance Bouma #79 Micheal Ferland
#18 Matt Stajan #86 Josh Jooris
Everybody Else
  • supra steve

    I guess the better question is how important does age difference & consistency play in the decision making of which goalie to keep? 2nd question is how much is it going to cost to keep Ramo in Calgary? A pretty relevant question considering the above question. The 3rd question is Ortio. He really hasn’t proven anything yet. Did he have the Hammond effect last year & there is a lot of debate in Ottawa which goalie to get rid of after they signed him to a contract. Ramo could be convinced of staying knowing 1 more year of an aging Hiller may help develop his consistency. My eye test last year felt that Ramo was better than Hiller at different parts of the year & playoffs & that was confirmed by Hartley in how he played the two as well. Look who he started in the first elimination game Flames came against, not Hiller.
    Can Ortio be started in the AHL next fall without worries of waivers? I want to see more Hiller/Ramo tandem quite frankly. Do we overpay Ramo on a 1 year deal, say 3.5 mill so we can put off that decision when both Hiller & Ramo become UFA’s & let the best man win. Another year of Ortio with Gilles closely watching can’t hurt either in the AHL.

  • Willi P

    @ Kevin R,

    Ortio must clear waivers to play in the AHL next season. Won’t happen. Also BT said we will not carry three goalies, so the only way to keep Ramo (and Ortio) is to sign Ramo and trade Hiller.

    • supra steve

      That’s the reason I have been a proponent of signing Ramo/ trading Hiller. Ramo walks as a UFA with no return for the Flames. If Ramo can be convinced to stay on a 2 year deal and Hiller moved, then you don’t lose an asset for nothing. Got nothing to do with which one is the better puck stopper. It’s all about asset management.

      Now if Ramo does walk, it’s not the worst thing that ever happened…teams do lose players to UFA. Just that in my ideal world the Flames don’t lose a tender this summer for zero return.

    • supra steve

      I guess my point is at training camp & when rosters are being set, players being sent to the AHL, if I remember correctly, players don’t have to clear waivers at the end of training camp. So what I’m saying is Ortio could be assigned to the AHL, paid NHL salary down there but once he is called up at any point of the year, he would have to clear waivers if we wanted to send him back down (in case of injury or anything like that) So therefore, we wouldn’t have to carry 3 goalies & hope like hell Ramo or Hiller don’t get injured. Ottawa are in the same boat.

  • supra steve

    With the season on the line who was in net? Ramo.

    Hiller may be a little better but I don’t think much. I keep the younger guy who MAY improve over the older guy who will LIKELY decline.

    Trade the asset, keep Ramo.

  • Purple Hazze

    I’d prefer to keep Ramo over Hiller simply because Ramo is younger and both goalies seem to be about the same quality. However, what kind of return can we even get for Hiller? There are a number of UFA goalies on the market, plus goalies like Crawford and Talbot will probably be hitting the trade market as well. Goalie supply will definitely be greater than demand this coming summer.

      • Könniek

        Agree Hiller uses his size and plays from his knees, Ramo is more athletic and can move post to post much quicker. That’s why the Ducks got Hiller out of the net, they moved the puck east-west and had a lot of open net.

  • Könniek

    I think it is best to let Ramo walk. With keeping Hiller, while yes he is likely to decline, is still a consistent source of goaltending. This will be very valuable with Ortio being the back up. Ortio will be able to learn first hand on what it takes to become a full time netminder from a veteran. I feel as though by keeping Ramo and trading Hiller, there is a lack of veteran presence in the goalie position (for what that’s worth). It could be catastrophic by having two inexperienced and streaky goalies in a tandem.