Report: Flames Re-sign Ramo

Earlier this month many of the rumours suggested the Flames would be overhauling their entire goaltending rotation. Not only would they not sign Ramo, they would trade Jonas Hiller and have a totally new tandem going into next year.

A few weeks later and it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen for whatever reason. Reports are today that the Flames have re-signed Ramo to a one year deal worth almost $4M. That seems a bit rich, but at least the term is right.

Ramo is a perfectly capable NHL back-up. Bob Hartley seemed to prefer him to Hiller by the end of the year, but the truth is the 28 year old probably doesn’t have a much higher ceiling than a #1B or #2 puck stopper in the league. As such, it’s good that the Flames limited his signing to a single season.

Ramo is one of those guys where the numbers and the eye test tend to disagree a lot. By eye, he’s an athletic goalie who battles in the net and makes eye-popping spectacular saves every so often. By the numbers, he’s completely mediocre and has been his entire NHL career. 

Last year, Ramo’s .916 even strength save rate was more than 10 points lower than Jonas Hiller’s ES SV% of .927. The average save rate at 5on5 in the league is typically around .920, so Ramo didn’t even clear that hurdle. And even though Ramo ended the season as the Flames starter against the Ducks in the playoffs, his SV% was .909 through 7 games. Hiller?.919 in 7 games.

Maybe Ramo just sees tougher shots than Hiller for whatever reason. There’s no evidence of that. Actually quite the opposite – Hiller tends to outperform his expected save rates. Ramo doesn’t:

Hiller1

Ramo1

The tables above are relatively easy to read. The line on each bar indicates “expected save percentage” according to the quality of shots the goalie faced. If the bar is lower than that line, the goalie under performed his expected rate. If it’s over that line, then he over performed. It’s clear at a glance who the superior goalie is. 

All this is to say Ramo is more or a less a placeholder for one year while the team either searches for better options or is comfortable enough to proceed with either Oritio or Gillies in the NHL.

As for Ortio, this suggests he will be starting the season in the AHL again. His contract is a one way deal but won’t count against the cap since it is less than $900k ($600,000). The real concern with Ortio is that he is waiver eligible this year, so the Flames will have to be careful if they want to shuttle him between the NHL and AHL this year. The latest CBA eliminated the recall waivers, so there’s no risk of Ortio being nabbed on a call-up. 

However, if he ever gets re-assigned to the AHL, he will up for grabs for the rest of the league. That means, if Oritio gets called up for any reason this year, he’s probably going to have to stick around for the duration. He’s a good enough prospect that the threat of losing on waivers is a real one. 

Conclusion

Ramo is a just okay NHL goalie, but he’s also a known commodity. He’s younger than Hiller and seemingly more popular with the fan base, but he’s also proven to be inferior over the course of his career. 

Clearly the team isn’t quite ready to commit an NHL position to a relatively untested puck stopper in Ortio, who will have another year to try to usurp one of the incumbents ahead of him. 

  • everton fc

    The price is too high. Unless they can move him. Or Hiller, if they think Ramo/Ortio can works as a 50/50 tandem.

    I’ve been up and down and all over the place with Hiller vs. Ramo. I’ve leaned towards Ramo at times. But Hiller’s a Cup winner, a veteran of the playoffs…

    Hiller/Ortio makes sense. Ramo/Ortio makes Two Finns.

    • RKD

      Hiller had absolutely nothing to do with Anaheim winning a cup, J.S. Giguere was the starting goalie for the Cup winning Ducks team

      Word from people in the know is that Hiller isn’t necessarily a team guy, he’s more of a “me first” guy and he was very salty at the end of the year for not playing in the 2nd round of the playoffs. His exit interviews communicated this, hence why the Flames have been very active in the goalie market the past month…Hiller isn’t in their plans and they’ve been looking to move him ever since he let his frustration at the end of the season be know to management.

      Not hard to connect the dots here folks…

    • Tomas Oppolzer

      You do realize the Ducks didn’t even have Hiller signed to a contract until May of ’07, they went on to win the cup a month later. Hiller hadn’t even suited up for a game in the Ducks organization yet…

  • mattyc

    Makes sense. Goaltending is the most sensitive position, so no reason to go with an unknown in Ortio. If Ortio wants a job, he just has to fight it away from one of Hiller or Ramo.

    • everton fc

      I think you move now. You move Ramo, go with Hiller/Ortio. That’s how I see it.

      Waiting for camp may allow an opportunity to see if Ortio’s ready. And of he is, and a team or two has a goalie down for a spell during pre-season, we are perfectly positioned to move one of these guys.

      Perhaps you “test” Ortio by making him earn the starting job in Stockton versus Gillies. See how these two compete against each other, as they may prove to be the 50/50 tandem up here, soon enough.

      I don’t think they move Ortio. If they do, they have absolute confidence Gillies will be ready by 2016-17, and that Gillies is the better prospect.

      We shall see.

        • everton fc

          Good point, I suppose. But the Islanders are desperate for a proven backup for Halak. Other teams also have immediate goaltending needs.

          Florida’s another team that comes to mind. Ditto Vancouver. Buffalo. Dallas. Edmonton.

          • RexLibris

            We’ll have to wait to see who is signed as a FA before we have an idea of which teams needs immediate goaltending help.

            Dallas has Lehtonen and Niemi.

            Edmonton has Talbot and Scrivens (who is in the range of Ramo).

            Vancouver has Markstrom and Miller.

            Buffalo has Lehner and Johnson.

            The only team that needs an upgrade that could be reasonably solved through free-agency is Buffalo or perhaps Edmonton if they move Scrivens.

            But all of them save Buffalo have solid options in net for this coming season.

          • RKD

            One team that comes to mind is the Flyers. I’m sure they would take a look at either Ramo or Hiller.

            I’m glad the Flames signed Ramo; at least they can trade him or Hiller without loosing them for nothing. A little competition in goal is not a bad thing.

            However, BT and Burke have both gone on record saying that a three goalie system doesn’t work; so it makes me think that eventually one of them is getting dealt, most likely Hiller.

  • TheoForever

    Remember though, goalies tend to make the show later, improve/peak later, and most importantly they are voodoo. He may not ever put up great numbers in the NHL but last year was essentially his second season in the NHL. I think he will continue to improve the more he plays and spends time with a Goalie coach. Atleast for another year or two.

  • mattyc

    I am just really glad we didn’t make the mistake of giving up a 1st for goaltenders like Lehner or Jones.

    Let’s evaluate what we have with Ortio and Gillies this season, and if we’re still not comfortable, hopefully the goalie market isn’t as ridiculous next off-season.

  • FeyWest

    Hey I don’t mind paying just cash for this year, gives us a chance to shop both Hiller and Ramo at some point if Ortio proves he’s the guy, this also gives both Ortio and Gillies the chance to work together and get to know eachother and maybe this grooms them even better into a great Tandem for our future!

  • Ramo’s new contract is only possible thanks to the Calgary Flames having a lot of cap space. “Placeholder” is a great description for him unless he pleasantly surprises us in the next season and plays like a certain #34 who used to play for the Flames.

  • RKD

    I don’t mind them resigning Ramo, both will probably be gone next season. Even though one guy never ran away with the job, they both performed well enough to get us into the post-season and Ramo was able to win a round. Maybe they want Ortio to develop another year in the AHL, even though he looks ready. A lot of the other goalies have already been traded and signed deals with their new teams.

    • RKD

      Always earned remember. So they hedge their bets on Ortio and give Ramo a second chance to earn #1. If Ortio is great then they trade one of Hamo/Riller. Don’t care which one at that point.

  • RKD

    Both Ramo and Hiller are inconsistent goalies hence Harley’s inability to name a definite #1. The summer is still young and hopefully BT can upgrade the goaltending. If not then Ramo gives us the best chance and hopefully Ortio can play 20-30 games. I believe Ortio will surprise and eventually take the job away from Ramo.

    I think Hiller will be moved this summer for a 2nd rounder or shortly after the season starts. If the Flames have to carry 3 goalies in the short term so be it.