Kevin Poulin hurt in Stockton Heat victory

When it comes to Calgary Flames goaltending, this is the darkest timeline.

In a season in which absolutely nothing has gone right, with goalies putting up career-worst performances and getting injured alike, the Flames have had to bring new bodies into the fold. In part doomed due to the threat of the waiver wire, they have too many goalies in the NHL – and now, maybe not enough in the AHL.

When Jon Gillies was injured mid-game for the Stockton Heat, the Flames traded for Kevin Poulin

Now, Poulin appears to be injured as well.

The Heat were having a pretty good night. Emile Poirier tied the game for them after they gave up a 2-0 lead to the San Jose Barracuda, and the two teams ended up going to a shootout. The Heat, for their part, had 52 shots on goal, so they were gunning for it. (Markus Granlund had nine shots alone!)

Stockton took an early lead in the shootout, but disaster struck soon after. According to an eyewitness account (i.e. my friend was at the game):

“[Poulin] went to go down for a save and just froze and then fell over. No one hit him or anything. It looked like he messed up his knee. He couldn’t skate off with any weight on it. His leg just buckled completely when he tried to stand.”

Poulin has a history of knee injuries. His 2010-11 season ended prematurely due to a knee injury, which required season-ending surgery. He suffered the same injury in juniors.

Kent Simpson came into the game to finish the shootout, and the Heat won – but now may face concerns as to who their goalie will be.

Jon Gillies is still considered day-to-day, but while the Flames organization is hoping he’ll recover with enough rest, it’s possible he’ll require surgery. Poulin was acquired to relieve the Heat’s goaltending woes in his absence, but now, there’s a chance he may be unavailable as well.

That leaves the Heat with Simpson, and Eric Hartzell, who has seen mostly ECHL action. In short, it’s not a good place for them to be in.

Even if Poulin’s potential injury is bad, the Flames still have a few options. One would be to find another goalie that can be had for essentially nothing.

Another would be to demote one of their three goalies in the NHL. Jonas Hiller is nearing a return to action, and unless Calgary is comfortable with three goalies up with the big club again, something will have to be done. The obvious candidate to send down would be Joni Ortio, as he’s barely even played since “making” the team; however, due to his youth and contract, he’s the most at-risk to be claimed. 

There’s no clear solution here. Hopefully, though, Poulin’s potential injury is minor, or Gillies will be ready to return soon, and no decisions will have to be made. The Heat play again on Wednesday, Nov. 25 in Ontario, so they have a few days to determine just who will be their starting goaltender.

As it currently stands, though, every single thing that could go wrong with the Flames’ goaltending situation this season has, and it looks like it keeps on getting worse.

    • cberg

      Send Hiller down. Being sent down has done wonders for Ramo, and besides Hiller needs a reconditioning stint anyways and definitely won’t be picked off waivers.

      • Brent G.

        Ortio would pass through waivers and it’s become obvious Hartley doesn’t trust him.

        Ortios average save % in the AHL is 0.916. Decent for the AHL but probably an indication his ceiling is as a backup (best case) in the nhl. In addition he was embarrassed in his two starts this season. Anyone claiming him needs him on the roster.

        He will pass through and desperately needs playing time in the AHL. I’m pretty sure no one outside of Calgary doesn’t give a sh!t about Ortio because he has not proven any value to be concerned about at this point.

        • OKG

          AHL save percentages mean nothing especially for a goalie who plays a style like Ortio that doesn’t just depend on just getting down and covering the bottom like a lot of “successful” AHL goalies. His style translates more naturally to the NHL level, but he has to start making basic saves which is just timing and confidence he’s missing right now, not technique or ability

          Look at Pekka Rinne… .909 in 145 AHL games. Didn’t make NHL until 26. Bet you’d like a Pekka Rinne on your team.

        • RedMan

          Nobody here gives a sh!t about your comments either troll…

          Brent isn’t a troll. He’s been a reader and commenter here for years. Disagree with him if you want, but please bring arguments, not insults – mod.

        • RedMan

          It’s very possible that Ortiopasses through without issue. What if he doesn’t? Flames lose a prospect they have spent years on. They are still without a starter in Stockton until Gillies is ok. And what then happens if one of Ramo or Hiller gets injured again?

          The Flames were risk averse when they had 3 goalies in the NHL and 2 goalies in Stockton. Why would they expose a player with a $600k cost when they could waive/conditioning stint Hiller with no risk?

  • RedMan

    Hiller can be sent down for a conditioning stint. Ramo is still 1 game under his 10-game limit. I’d like to think nobody would claim Ortio but have a suspicion that if Ortio goes we won’t see him in Calgary again. Good or bad?

  • KiLLKiND

    I think sending Hiller down would be a bad idea. We still need to trade either him or Ramo and having one of them in the AHL will do nothing to help with this. I don’t think Hiller needs a conditioning stint he is an NHL goalie that has played in the NHL for many years now. Any goalie can be prone to a bad streak and that was his at the beginning of the year. I think Hartley has learned you need to give a guy start on a consistent basis for them to get into a groove. Once Hiller gets into his groove we can do what we did last year and give them 5-7 game streaks until we can trade of them likely closer to the deadline.

    Ortio needs games its almost December and he has only played twice. Sending him down is the best option I highly doubt any team claims him and if someone does then hopefully they play him. This is why waivers exist so teams can’t just hoard players its not fair to Ortio either.

  • Here’s a radical suggestion to improve our defence and relieve our goaltending woes:

    Suit up Kris Russell. We all know he likes blocking shots (where better to do this than from the crease?) and we all want him off our D. So, radical suggestion: trade Hiller, send Ortio down to the AHL, and welcome to the Flames: back-up goaltender Kris Russell.

    Win-win-win. 😉

  • RedMan

    Wondering if there is any news on Poulin’s injury. I’m a Heat Season Ticket Holder… it’s been a rocky ride for the boys so far this season. Praying that both Gillies and Poulin’s injuries are not serious, not just for the team, but for them as individuals.