The Calgary Flames are in a bit of a bind.
Heading into Friday’s action, they’re near the bottom of the NHL’s standings and one of several reasons for that is they can’t keep the puck out of their net. Through 10 games, they’ve allowed 40 goals – four per game, which is hardly a recipe for success.
Now, it’s natural to explore some options to upgrade any part of the team that they can at this point, but Eric Duhatschek’s suggestion on Sportsnet 960 The Fan’s morning show yesterday scared the heck out of me. Duhatschek, a man I greatly respect, suggested something a bit out to left field: that the Flames chase Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward.
I have this desperate plea for Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving: please don’t trade for Cam Ward.
PROBLEMS TO SOLVE
Through the first 10 games of the season, the Flames goaltending has been a three-headed monster. Some of that is because of lacklustre performances by all three goalies involved, but some of that has also been because Brad Treliving decided they couldn’t bear to lose Joni Ortio on waivers.
Through 10 games, here’s a breakdown of Calgary’s goaltending (and Cam Ward is included for comparison’s sake). [All numbers are even-strength.]
Right now, based on pretty low sample sizes, Ward seems a pretty decent option, right? Well, let’s expand the sample size a bit…and you’ll see why Carolina wants to rid themselves of him and his contract.
SINCE THE LOCKOUT
Since the 2012-13 lockout, here’s a look at where Cam Ward stacks up against some of Calgary’s goaltenders.
- Jonas Hiller has played 135 games with a .925 unadjusted save percentage (.925 adjusted)
- Reto Berra has played 54 games with a .918 unadjusted save percentage (.918 adjusted)
- Karri Ramo has played 77 games with a .915 unadjusted save percentage (.917 adjusted)
- CAM WARD has played 106 games with a .915 unadjusted save percentage (.913 adjusted)
So what does all of that mean? Cam Ward is appreciably worse than Jonas Hiller (who is two years older than him) over the past three seasons (and change), and actually a tad worse than both Reto Berra and Karri Ramo when you adjust for quality of shots against.
No wonder Carolina wants to get rid of him.
The funnier thing is that Cam Ward is more expensive than both of Calgary’s veteran options: his $6.3 million cap hit dwarfs both Hiller’s $4.5 million and Ramo’s $3.8 million, and that’s for a goalie that’s worse than both of them.
Since such a swap would probably involve flipping Jonas Hiller (and assets) for Cam Ward (and other asset), let’s put their differences in real terms. Cam Ward faced 2,060 even-strength shots between the lock-out and now and allowed 192 even-strength goals over 106 games. If Jonas Hiller faced 2,060 comparable even-strength shots, he would have given up 155 goals over the same 106 games – 37 fewer goals over the same time-span, or roughly one fewer goal for every three games he played. Over the course of a season, that’s huge.
JUST DON’T DO IT
Cam Ward is a bit younger than Jonas Hiller. But he’s also more expensive than Hiller and over the past several seasons has been significantly worse than Hiller.
It doesn’t make any sense to expend assets and potentially disrupt the locker room in order to swap Jonas Hiller for a worse goaltender. If they want a worse goaltender, Karri Ramo’s already in the organization.
There’s no tangible benefit to trading for Cam Ward. Please don’t do it.