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):
- 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.
2014-15 BY THE NUMBERS
|#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|