1 yr,$3.8 mil for Ramo in Calgary.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 1, 2015
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.
Karri Ramo is T-42nd in save pct from 2013-15 (since he joined CGY) among goalies w/20+ games. He’s T-28th out of 41 with 50+ games.
— Cörey Masisak (@cmasisak22) July 1, 2015
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:
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.
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.