Report: Karri Ramo has cleared waivers

It would seem there really isn’t any market for goaltending at all.

Yesterday, following their fifth loss (and first goalie pull) of the season, the Calgary Flames placed Karri Ramo on waivers; today, he cleared, and can be sent down to the AHL.

Ramo has a save percentage of .879% over three games to start the season, and carries a cap hit of $3.8 million, so this isn’t particularly surprising.

Even though Ramo has shown improvement in his return to the NHL – improvement that culminated with a .912 SV% over 34 games in 2014-15, and starting several games in the playoffs – this has been a bad year to start, and it’s not entirely on him.

Sure, there are moments where Ramo could have been better – that game-winning goal Dustin Byfuglien scored on him in the final 90 seconds of his second start immediately comes to mind – but he seems to be more of a sacrificial lamb than anything else at this point.

It was odd when the Flames first re-signed him. With Ramo an impending free agent, the goaltending succession seemed to have a clear path in place: Jonas Hiller, with one year left on his contract, would remain the starter, and Joni Ortio, now waiver-eligible, would be his backup, learning the ropes of being an everyday NHLer.

When Ramo was re-signed, that plan was thrown out of the water. The Flames carried three waiver-eligible goalies, and seemed to be operating on the assumption that they would sort things out themselves over the pre-season. Except one problem: that didn’t happen, as all three played at nearly equal levels. So Calgary decided it would carry all three.

Goaltending isn’t the Flames’ only problem early into the 2015-16 season, but carrying three goalies at once certainly didn’t help. Both Hiller and Ramo, a successful tandem the previous year, failed to establish themselves, each giving up terrible goals; all the while, Ortio twiddled his thumbs in the press box – the Flames so afraid of potentially losing him, they weren’t even playing him.

In theory, waiving Ramo solves the problem, although it leaves a bad taste. He left his chance on the free agent market to stay with this team, only for this team to ultimately turn him aside just a few weeks into the new season. And now the Flames seem to have the two goalies they need: and it’s just the two goalies they should have stuck with in the first place.

Ramo, 29, hasn’t played in the AHL since the 2008-09 season, when he was still with the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. The Flames now have the option to send him down to Stockton, where he could join Jon Gillies.

Gillies has a .950 SV% and two shutouts in the first three games of his professional career, so it’s not like that’s an easy net to win, either.

UPDATE: And here we have it. Ramo is officially going to Stockton.

Fare thee well, Karri; you’re only an injury recall away. 

  • ville de champignons

    The real harm that comes out of this is delaying Ortio’s development. Given the problems this team is faced with, not a huge deal but to work out of this funk they are going to need above average goaltending from somebody. Soon.

  • everton fc

    So, now they are dealing with three goalies in Stockton?

    Honestly, why didn’t anyone just pick him up? Buffalo, really?

    I can’t help but think that BT just couldn’t make a trade, or that one is in the works that he’s clearing some cap space for.

    • Ari Yanover

      Buffalo has a handful of goalies in their system I imagine they’d like to give a chance (Nathan Lieuwen, who you may remember from an outstanding 2011 WHL playoffs, recalled as backup, plus Linus Ullmark and Andrey Makarov), and Chad Johnson had an awesome game last night.

      I can see why they wouldn’t want to commit some of their cap when they already have a lot of bodies of their own, plus it’s not like Lehner is out the entire season.

  • everton fc

    So did they buy him a ticket to Stockton, or did they do this to see if he’d clear, and now that he hasn’t, he’ll stay in Calgary??

    If he stays… Will the madness ever end?!

  • Ari Yanover

    Hopefully Ortio starts on the road, though I have my doubts. Thinking Hartley gives Hiller the next two starts.

    This is if though, I really hope that when Ortio does get the start, he runs with it and never looks back.

    • piscera.infada

      I don’t see any harm in giving Hiller a little more leash to try and retain the starting job. Ortio will get his shot Sunday or Monday anyway.

      I’m with you though, I hope one of these guys (Ortio) just takes that ball and runs with it for a while, because this team could really use a goalie to actually get them some momentum.

  • Greg

    I don’t see it as “he left his chance in free agency”. The flames were clearly the highest bidder by a country mile. He took that money knowing the competitive situation he was heading into. If he wanted a better playing opportunity, he likely could have found one if he was willing to take 1/2 the price. I don’t begrudge him that at all, but it was likely the wrong choice even financially in the long run (how many teams will be calling after a season of AHL backup duties, vs had he gone for another 1B NHL role?).

    Also, I still don’t get the love some people have for him. His numbers have never been even average, and he hasn’t been young with upside for sometime either. It’s no big loss. The flames have a few other issues they need to sort out before the goaltending is the worst of their problems.

    In the end, I still don’t mind the signing. Everyone got what they wanted: Ramo his cash, BT an injury insurance policy.

    • Scoring_guru

      Agreed. Well said. It didn’t work out and now the Flames have acted. Clearly Hartley thinks he has a better chance of winning a game by starting Hiller next.

  • Scoring_guru

    Boohoo. He has $3.9 million reason to be happy. Yes it sucks that he could have gone on the free agent market, but I doubt anyone would have given him nearly $4M to be a 50/50 goalie or potentially a back up. He had his chance to prove himself and in 2 critical games against the Jets and Caps he blew it. These guys are paid huge sums of money to perform and letting in weak goals like the ones he did with Ovie and Buff prove that he cannot be counted upon. Even Hillar needs to improve his performance as he hasn’t won us any games. It is a team game, but there are times when you need your goalie to help you out. You think Montreal would be undefeated if Ramo or Hillar was their goalie instead of some guy named Price?

  • Scoring_guru

    This whole three goalie thing has hurt the Flames start this year. Everyone was uncomfortable with it including the coaching and management. It has to clear up first before moving on. The players are like brothers and did not want one of them to be blamed or take the hit. When it came to the goalies there was one bullet in the gun and it got passed around until you know what? I am sure a guy like Wideman feel really bad by tipping in a goal on Ramo which does help anyone’s cause.

    For those who may work in the oil Industry knowing some of your co workers will be layoff did not make you feel good going to work every day. And in that environment how well did you perform too?

    Hopefully , the Flames now can work their way back to the hard working talented team that they should be.

  • Scoring_guru

    Poor Ramo..if worse comes to worse and he remains in the AHL the rest of the season and doesn’t get signed to an NHL contract in the off-season; he can retire from the NHL and go back to FInland and play in the KHL…