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.