Flames recall Karri Ramo

When Jonas Hiller struggled to get up following a collision with Bobby Ryan, you knew it probably wasn’t going to be good.

This left the Flames with a problem. They may have tried to run with three goalies, but that didn’t work. You know what’s really not going to work, though? Running with one, since all indications are pointing towards Hiller being injured.

So, a week after he was sent down, Karri Ramo is back with the Flames.

Ramo had a very poor start to the season. After being re-signed to a one-year, $3.8 million deal, he was part of a three-way battle for two jobs at camp – a battle that he won in part, as he was the Flames’ first starter of the season.

It’s just unfortunate that he gave up five goals in his first start, and went on to lose all three games he did play. Ramo left Calgary with a thoroughly unimpressive .879 save percentage.

With Jon Gillies needing playing time in Stockton, Ramo only played 20 minutes over his AHL sabbatical. In it, he saw six shots, and stopped all of them.

Hopefully it’s something he can build off of as he battles to return to the .912 save percentage he exhibited with the Flames over the 2014-15 season. Because while goaltending in Calgary remains uncertain, there’s one thing we do know: it needs to be better, and Ramo does have the potential to play a key role in improving it.

It leaves us with a few questions, though.

Who’s the starter now?

We don’t yet know just how badly injured Hiller is, and indeed, there’s no mention of him going on the injured reserve. By sending down Jakub Nakladal earlier in the day, the Flames can afford to recall a player without making any further moves. However, it’s pretty clear that Hiller will not be playing in the immediate future, so we aren’t revisiting the three-goalie conundrum at this point in time.

So if the starter’s net is between Ramo and Ortio, then really, you have to go with Ortio.

The Flames hid Ortio in the pressbox through the first several games of the season, too afraid of potentially losing him to play him. But now that time is past. If you want to keep a goalie, you have to have good reason why – and it makes no sense whatsoever to keep Ortio if you aren’t going to play him.

Ortio hasn’t been perfect to start the season, but pretty much nobody on the entire Flames team has. This is a rebuilding team, though, and with rebuilding teams, you need to see just what your young players can do. Ortio is among that group.

If things go south, Ramo is back to handle it; in the meantime, though, you wanted to keep the kid so bad? Play him.

What happens when Hiller recovers?

Ramo can simply be sent back down to Stockton within 10 games played or 30 days from today, so if Hiller is back within that time period, it would make the most sense to simply return him to the AHL – unless Ramo has put together some incredible performances in that time frame to force the Flames to keep him.

But then that creates another awkward situation in which Hiller is the odd man out. With seemingly little market for goalies out there, a trade may not be likely, and then you’re left waiving your second veteran goaltender in the same season. That’s messy.

If Hiller is out long term, though, and Ramo proves himself capable, that creates a conundrum for the Flames. Depending on how Ortio performs, it could be the end of his time with the Flames; if, however, he thrives, then Calgary will be back to where they started the season: with three goalies, two of who are veterans clogging things up.

It’s fortunate that with Hiller injured, the Flames at least have the personnel eliminating the need for them to make any additional moves. But the three goalie system didn’t work to start the season, and it’s probably not going to work later in the year, either.

    • Greg

      Agreed. At least give him the next start. Going to be frustrated if they go straight back to Ramo… How many chances do you need to give the vets to prove they are worse than the rookie?

    • beloch

      It does not matter who is in the net if 2nd and 3rd opportunities are allowed. Where is the defence, the goalies have been hung out to dry. Maybe with Brodie back we can get this turned around. If this season is not salvaged then 1st pick goalie or defenceman. Why is it that opponents are getting access to the net unimpeded?

  • Greg

    Personally I hope Ramo plays great and gets his confidence and momentum going to become a legitimate starter and Ortio gets a couple starts in as a back up. Hopefully Ramo plays great enough and consistent enough that we can trade Hiller. Which hopefully gives Ramo more confidence and causes him to play even better.

    • everton fc

      I think Ramo will take full advantage of the opportunity. Sometimes Hiller looks as if he’s about to turn the corner, but more often than not he looks washed up.

      Ramo/Ortio. I hope they can make it work.

      • RKD

        I’m hopeful as well but Im also a realist. Ramo is 30 years old and he will never be better. He is a legit back up goaltender and that is all he has proven since he joined the Flames. He is acrobatic only because he does not read the play and the shooters very well. He does not handle the pressure well particularly in close games!

        Now we all know the reason why Hartley never did name his clear number 1 goalie last year…he never had one!!

        • Greg

          This ^.

          I cannot for the life of me understand why so many people keep expecting Ramo to suddenly turn a corner and become a good goalie. “Hiller’s numbers speak for themselves” and yet somehow Ramo’s, who have always been worse, don’t?

          He’s an “ok” backup (at best) with occasional flashes of brilliance, and well past the age were anyone could expect he might still improve. How does getting waived and recalled suddenly give him superpowers to become a number 1? how does that give him another gear that battling for a job for 2+ years never did?

          It’s done. He’s not a starting caliber goalie. 29 other teams can obviously see that, I don’t get what’s in our water that’s blinding us to it.

          Time to move on and see what Ortio can do. Ramo should only be helping hold down the fort until Hiller is back, and the flames should probably be walking away from both when the season is done.

          • beloch

            Agree… Its just so puzzling how they resigned Ramo, and to such a hefty contract. I don’t get it…. The whole goalie thing confuses me. The one clear conclusion is that the coach has no confidence in anyone. I echo the fear explained above that we could ruin Ortio and Gilles if we aren’t careful. Case and point, Dubnyk in YEG. He was trending good, then their goof GM throws him under the bus in the summer and the guy literally implodes for 18 months. I really hope mgmt treads carefully, and so far I’m just confused and not all that confident based on what they’ve done in the crease.

            BTW – Please guys ignore these Oiler idiots. This is actually an interested thread and commentary about the Flames. Just don’t engage the losers. I’m sure they won’t go away, but we can ignore and keep this intelligent amongst the inevitable idiot noise.

          • Oil City Roller

            The reasons why people expect that is:
            A) he’s 29
            B) he’s only played a handful of NHL seasons.
            C) Goalies share little with skaters when it comes to progressing/ age ie Tim Thomas they can peak much later than Skaters.

            The only thing he needs to add is consistency and who knows what’s going on in his personal life/mentaly that could suddenly improve.

  • Cfan in Vic

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Ortio vs Canadiens and Ramo vs Oilers. As much as I’d love to see Ortio get a clear run for a few games, I don’t think they’d they play him on back to back nights.

    I’ll be crossing my fingers for a good, steady Orts run after that though.

  • First Name Unidentified

    Why not bring Gillies up? Play Ortio a starter and back-up Jon. Why go back a circle? More games will only mean more experience for our green, but, highly skilled future goalies. This season will be a learning season anyway!

    Now, i don’t know the contractual technicalities…..

    • First Name Unidentified

      There are no contractual technicalities…why destroy a kids confidence by potentially bringing him up and having to play when he is no where near bing ready! Teams spend millions on AHL franchises for development purposes…Gillies in his few starts has demonstrated progress but also inconsistency….he is developing and it may take a few years…have patience he is only 19 years old!

        • Johnny Goooooooaldreau

          I thought for minute no one was going to correct his age. Jon Gillies COULD be the future starter but we have to be patient. There are far to many examples of blue chip goaltenders that get rushed to the show and fade under the spotlight and pressure. I can’t see a situation this year, that he makes an appearance, unless the unpredictable happens! I am actually glad to see this team fall back down to earth, last year was nice but most of us knew it was un-sustainable. Now is our chance to unload the veterans and get back to focusing on the youth, and the future.

    • MattyFranchise

      Bring up another rookie to tandem with Ortio? Bad idea. All it takes is a bad stretch to completely destroy a young player’s confidence. Goalies from all reports are even worse. ie Dubnyk

      You gotta bring em along slowly and treat them more gingerly than defensemen. Goalies are just too risky to develop, you gotta do it right. Having a 24 and 22 (or however old they are) year old being a starting 1a 1b goalie in the NHL just has terrible idea written all over it.

    • beloch

      Gillies hasn’t even proven he’s an AHL level goalie yet. His starts have gone like this: Shutout, awful, shutout, awful.

      He needs to play, and the AHL looks like it’s a place he can develop.

  • beloch

    After losing in Vancouver on Tuesday, the Canadians just lost their second game of the season to the Oilers. Montreal played one good period of hockey and then slacked off for the rest of the game, and the Oilers made them pay for it.

    The good news is that the Oilers faced Price, so the Flames will probably see Condon, who has a career NHL sv% of 0.947… based on two games.

    The Habs will be PO’d (at themselves more than anything) tomorrow, but here’s hoping the Flames can complete the death valley double whammy and send the league’s hottest team out of the West without a single point.

    • Johnny Goooooooaldreau

      Far from a flames fan but my hatred for both the habs and the laffs is unmeasurable. Due to such, I will be cheering for you guys to kick some godless habs A$$es!

      Love it when the habs and laffs leave Alberta with their collective tails between their legs!

  • beloch

    Flames play the Oil this Saturday and it doesn’t matter who plays goal. If they don’t hit McD and play a man on him at all times he will rip them for another multi point game.

  • Greg

    Ramo-itis. The persistent belief that a middle-aged goalie will suddenly shift from being below average to unbelievably good, despite all evidence to the contrary. Listed in the DSM as a clinically diagnosable mental illness.

  • beloch

    Another excellent read by Haynesy on Brodie’s return to the lineup and its impact on the team.

    Its a pleasure reading this guy’s stuff, always non-biased, balanced, takes the entire picture into account in his positions…someone who “gets it”.

    Best read by far from anyone writing about the Flames right now.


  • Greg

    Folks, Hiller is dead last in the NHL in SV%. Yes, read that again and let it sink in, DEAD LAST!. The worst of the worst. Fact!

    He’s been a trainwreck all year minus the Detroit game, poor rebound control, god awful untimely goals that have absolutely deflated the team and when the Flames have needed a big save he hasn’t provided it. Last game, we outshoot Ottawa 38-23 and we lose, 14 saves on 18 shots against for Hiller…not acceptable NHL level goaltending, unless your goal is a shot at Austin Matthews.

    Any change right now should be welcomed, it cannot be any worse than what Hiller’s provided thus far, which again is the worst goaltending in the NHL through 10 games, FACT.

    Hopefully one of Ortio or Ramo can grab the bull by the horns and run with this thing, better performances in the pipes will do wonders for this team’s confidence go-forward.

    • Greg

      He’s actually 5th last, but no one is defending him anyway. The point is Ramo is 11th last, and a train wreck too. Yes any change is welcome, except a change back to Ramo. He will never be the answer to anything except “what is the definition of a bad player who has inexplicable fan base support anyway?”

      • Greg

        “what is the definition of a bad player who has inexplicable fan base support anyway?”

        The support for Ramo isn’t anywhere near as baffling as the support for Joey MacDonald a few years ago.

  • First Name Unidentified

    All it takes is another injury to a goalie and you’ll see Gillies come up as a back up. So he should, you gotta play the 22 yr old kid with amazing potential. Price started early! Now before people trash me for comparing him to Price, keep in mind we assign probabilities to events, and I assign a very high probability that Gillies is almost as good a talent.

    My two cents!

  • RKD

    No surprise, but according to Ryan Huska Ramo has been working hard and been a total pro. Hope this will wake up Ramo and he starts playing better. Once Hiller is recovered the whole 3 goalie headed monster will rear it’s ugly face again. One of the vets needs to play well in order to up his value then maybe just maybe one can be moved. Ortio should be given a chance to play some more gain confidence and prove himself.
    Also, NO TO CAM WARD.