When Karri Ramo left with still three minutes to go in regulation against the San Jose Sharks, it didn’t look good. Unable to skate off under his own power or put weight on his leg, it was confirmed Ramo wouldn’t even be in the lineup for the second of the Flames’ back-to-back, let alone actually take the ice.
To that end, Ramo has been placed on the injured reserve. The Flames have recalled Joni Ortio, who was originally waived and sent down to the Stockton Heat back on Nov. 26.
Ortio currently has .893 save percentage through 20 games with the Heat: a far cry from the .912 he posted with the Adirondack Flames the season before, and an even further cry from the .926 he posted with the Abbotsford Heat in his rookie AHL season.
His most recent action came on Feb. 9, when he replaced Kevin Poulin after the other goalie gave up five goals and 28 shots 29:28 through the game. Ortio played the final 30:32, surrendering another two goals on 20 shots in the Heat’s 7-3 loss.
The last game Ortio started was on Feb. 5, three games ago in Stockton’s calendar. He gave up four goals on 21 shots.
Recalling Ortio over Poulin, who has a .913 save percentage over 12 games with the Heat this season, does makes sense. Poulin was a stop gap option brought in when the organization was running out of goalies; Ortio, drafted in 2009, has been with the Flames organization for years. The Flames have invested their time in developing him, have seen his NHL debut and his potential – and with Ortio an upcoming RFA, they need to know just who they have, and whether or not he’ll even be in the Flames’ future plans.
Of course, it’s entirely possible Ortio doesn’t start any games. He stayed up with the Flames for nearly two months as the team’s third string goaltender, and only played in four games, just two of which he actually started. Most of his time was spent in the pressbox, and even when Ramo was down in the AHL, Ortio was backing up on the bench more than anything else.
Ramo being on the injured reserve means he’s out at least a week, but it looks like his injury could keep him out longer than that. The Flames play three games between now and next Friday, with a fourth coming exactly a week from now. They’re all spread out, so it would hardly be surprising to see Jonas Hiller get the start for all of them.