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.
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:
Here’s the thing about #Flames waiving Ramo. The coach has always liked him ahead of Hiller. GM putting his foot down?
— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) October 21, 2015
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.