Flames place Karri Ramo on waivers

Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports

It’s official: the three-headed Cerebrus goaltending monster that the Calgary Flames entered this season with, is dead.

On Wednesday the Calgary Flames reportedly placed Karri Ramo and his lucrative $3.8 million contract on waivers, presumably for the purpose of reassignment (or even better, shedding the asset entirely). If Ramo clears he can be reassigned to Stockton of the American League, while the Flames retain $2.85 million of his salary cap hit.

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The Flames have handled their goaltenders in baffling fashion for the past few months. We all knew that Jonas Hiller had a year remaining on his deal and Joni Ortio would require waivers this season, so it was strange when the Flames handed Ramo an expensive one-year contract. 

It was stranger still when the club carried three netminders into the regular season, something that has never ended well for any goaltender or team involved.

Luckily it would seem that they’ve made the obvious choice here, though it’s unfortunate that it took them this long to work it out (and that they’ll carry a cap penalty if Ramo clears, or lose an asset for nothing if he doesn’t). Jonas Hiller is the better goaltender and has outperformed Ramo consistently, both throughout his career and throughout their Flames tenure. Ortio, meanwhile, as Ryan Pike argued this weekend, has more upside and need to at least get reps rather than gathering cobwebs and eating popcorn in the Saddledome press box. 

What’s perhaps most interesting about these mechanics is what it suggests about the inner workings of Calgary’s brain trust. As Mark Spector pointed out on Twitter (it’s Spector day at FlamesNation.ca, by the way), Ramo has generally been Bob Hartley’s preferred option in net:

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If Hartley is running out of rope to make the decisions in net, could he be running out of rope more generally? 

Because of Ramo’s price tag, I’d suggest that there’s a better than average chance that he’ll clear waivers. On the other hand, a team like the Buffalo Sabres could certainly afford to take on Ramo’s salary and has a clear need for a goaltender’s services. 

  • Cfan in Vic

    We are still in the middle of a rebuild. Yes they made it to the second round. Yes expectations were higher coming into this season. It’s like everyone including the Calgary Flames themselves figured it was going to be easy. It’s not and it won’t be, EVER!

  • Cfan in Vic

    Guys, guys – If Ramo or Hiller had gone on a hot streak like they did last year then the goalie answer would have been determined and they would definitely trade one (hopefully Ramo). They didn’t. So they took a gamble signing Ramo. So what. GMs should do that.
    The next question is does Ortio get a bunch of starts in a row? Does Bob feel the pressure to win a game (start Hiller) and Tree wants to see Ortio play? The next goalie starts will be telling…
    I wonder if we shouldn’t put Hamilton in the box for one game like they did Gaudreau last year at this time, with a minder to keep him focused on watching the game?
    Halloween is coming and this is getting scary…

  • Cfan in Vic

    I don’t think you have seen the end of changes with the Flames goaltending….I think Treliving is on the search for an experienced goaltender. Hiller like Ramo is inconsistent but remains valuable until another goalie is brought in or Ortio/Gillies prove they are ready to carry the load….

  • Cfan in Vic

    I’m assuming they signed ramo to trade him (or hiller) later on for assets… That obviously isn’t happening, it might with ramo on a cheaper deal though. Or they’re making cap room for another deal.

    • Cfan in Vic

      I kind of get that sense too.. BT had every reason to put Ramo on waivers after last nights game, but if the rumors are true that he has been working the phones, he could have a potential deal in place.

      GMs will often place player on waivers first to see if anyone will take them for free, before taking a contract back in return.

  • CowtownKid13

    I guess the Flames will be using a shooter tutor in practice now that Ramo is gonna be gone. Unless they finally realize they still have Ortio on their NHL roster.

  • RKD

    Sounds like they never really wanted to resign Ramo in the first place. Everyone says he’s younger and cheaper but he’s not the better goaltender. He was supposed to take his sterling performance in the KHL and translate it over. Hasn’t happened yet. The Flames are probably better off without both Hiller and Ramo, neither could take the ball and run with it. Ortio should be starting games, but Treliving needs to find a #1 starter won’t be easy though.

  • piscera.infada

    Flames are a young team still developing and last year created unrealistic expectations. Flames fans are starting to sound like Oiler fans of the last few years very angry and want to trade or fire everyone. Rebuilds are ugly but try to support your team things will get better for starters the management is solid in Calgary and I look forward to a great rivalry again for the battle of Alberta. What rock did WW crawl under? like some Oiler trolls no where to be seen during tough times.

  • piscera.infada

    Flames waived the wrong goalie, Hiller should’ve been let go. His weak performance in the playoffs combined with a general lazy style in net has cost the flames routinely. Ramo has let in a couple weak goals but has stood on his head enough to earn his keep. Regardless, I think it’s silly not to start Ortio at this point, give him a shot. Going back to Hiller after a generally lazy performance in relief sends the wrong message.

    Isn’t this really a defence problem anyway, Dougie Hamilton has been laying an egg all season. He’s undisciplined, takes too many penalties and is legitimately at fault on many of the goals he’s been on the ice for this season. Send him to the third line until he matures, or else we’ll be stuck with another phaneuf disaster.