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.
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.