Joni Ortio is now a restricted free agent

A little while back, we took a look at Joni Ortio’s status for this coming summer. Due to his age and National Hockey League experience, Ortio was likely to become a Group 6 free agent at the end of the season…unless he played a certain number of games of 30 minutes or more.

After last night’s game, Ortio has played enough games (26) to be a restricted free agent on July 1.

We initially listed the number as 28 games, but our pal Pat Steinberg did some digging and discovered that the lockout year skewed the numbers a bit.

Here’s the math: Ortio’s presently in his fifth professional season. (His first two seasons were spent partially and then entirely in Finland’s SM-Liiga, but they count because his entry-level contract was active.)

Seasons Usual
2011-12 82 82
2012-13 82 48
2013-14 82 82
2014-15 82 82
2015-16 82 82
Total 410 376

The 28 game figure is based on five full NHL seasons for a player to get their games in, and that number represents roughly 6.8% of the available games. But with the 2012-13 season getting knocked down to 48 games due to the lockout, 6.8% of the available games shrinks from 28 to 25.6, 26 if you’re rounding.

Including last night’s game, Ortio has played 30+ minutes in:

  • 2013-14: 8 games
  • 2014-15: 5 games
  • 2015-16: 13 games

So he’s definitely hit the 26-game threshold. If the Flames choose to qualify him, he’ll be a restricted free agent this summer.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    A few props for Ortio. He could of had a Shutout in a couple of his last starts. Last night, he cost himself a shutout losing the battle along the boards and not being able to get back in his net. He was very unlucky early on this season not getting any wins, now he has had some very fortunate games with Calgary scoring 3 goals in the first period on a few occassions.

    I know people were upset that we let Broissoit go and he is having a great season in the AHL. I watched the game against Nashville, and he let 3 goals in on Neal and despite Neal being a premiere sniper, it showed that Broissoit did not have a clue where the shooter was shooting….that is a concern….just not for us.

  • Parallex

    Since he’s hit the threshold… “Niklas Backstrom! Come on down it’s your turn to be a contestant on the goalie price is right! In lieu of cash and prizes you will be competing for the chance to end your career with a modicum of dignity and for your acquiring team? it’s a BRAND NEW increased lotto odds!”.

  • Christian Roatis

    Considering the cap crunch, a (insert popular starting goalie name here)/Ortio duo may be a pretty solid option. Andersen, Bishop, Reimer or whoever playing 55-60 games and Ortio cleaning up the rest could work out well?

    Just hoping its not Ramo/Ortio next season because this team needs a change.

    • piscera.infada

      I agree with your last point (at the least the theory behind it). However I don’t see either of Bishop or Andersen as palatable in terms of assets being given up to acquire them, and I also have extreme hesitation about signing Reimer for any kind of term over 2 years.

      It’s a tough situation going into next year, because you don’t want to pigeon-hole yourself into a long-term, big dollar contract, just as you don’t want to give up considerable assets. Still though, everyone agrees, a change is likely necessary, and I don’t see any of the other (secondary, but cheaper) available options (the Berniers, Wards, Howards, and Lehtonens) as being any sort of upgrade at all on a Ramo/Ortio tandem.

      • Baalzamon

        Actually, I was thinking that if the Dallas pick becomes a first rounder, the Flames could possibly use that and a second round pick (maybe the Florida pick?) to get Andersen.

        Edit – I’ll add that I’m not totally sold on giving up on Ramo / Ortio; Andersen (or a goalie like him) isn’t going to come cheap, after all. But I think such a trade is theoretically workable without hurting the Flames’ organizational health.

        • piscera.infada

          I think you might be able to get something working with Anaheim (and you’re right about the Dallas pick, if it becomes a first-rounder). However, looking back at the (Edmonton/New Jersey) Schneider trade from Vancouver. It seems to me that if Anaheim had interest from any team not in the Pacific division, it would price the Flames out of the trade.

      • Greg

        The expansion announcement yesterday changes things a lot though. No one can protect more than 1 goalie, so assuming they announce at least 1 expansion team before the draft, there’ll be pressure on several teams with 2 good goalies to do something and not be left losing a good goalie for nothing. Andersen, Elliot, etc… I think we’ll find their asking price becomes very reasonable if an expansion team gets approved.

        • supra steve

          But, if they acquire Andersen, do the Flames then need to worry about loosing a goaltender? I don’t think they’d worry about loosing Ortio, but if Gillies needs to be protected, then they would have a problem. This expansion threat will change the way teams do business.

          • Baalzamon

            I don’t think the Flames need to worry about Gillies. I’ve read that players in the first two years of their NHL career are not eligible for the expansion draft. Gillies would be in his first at most.

          • supra steve

            That’s what I heard too, but there’s always a loop hole somewhere…like Orts becoming a UFA if he hadn’t put in his 26th career game this season. And with Gillies coming out of NCAA, then into AHL…? Flames will have to do their homework.

          • piscera.infada

            I think the operative wording is “first two years pro“. I took that to mean AHL as well. It’s meant to protect prospects, but also not make them untouchable.

        • piscera.infada

          If expansion gets approved. And if no one from outside the division has interest in Andersen. Like I said in regard to Andersen; if team ‘a’ is inside your division and is offering you a package of ‘x’ and ‘y’ for your starter calibre goalie, and team ‘b’ is not inside your division and offers you a similar package, who do you choose? You choose the team outside your division every, single time. It thusly goes to reason that if “the asking price becomes reasonable”, it becomes reasonable for everyone, and by extension you’re still going to be priced much higher than anyone else.

          On Andersen, I’m also worried about the term and dollars it will take to resign him. Are you willing to price Gilles out of the organization (with term)? The same goes for Bishop. He may be a bit cheaper, because outside the division, but he also took the Lightening to a cup final last year. Tough call.

          As for Elliott, I actually think he’s the perfect target. I’m not sure why we don’t have more discussion about him here. Him and Ortio could form a solid tandem for next year. The thing is, if Allen blows up in the playoffs this year, do they trade him?

          • Greg

            Agreed on Andersen… I keep throwing his name out because he is a potential long term #1 option and one of the better examples of a guy who will likely shake loose due to the expansion threat.

            But I too would much prefer Elliot. In theory, he shouldn’t cost as much, and is still signed for another year. That gives you time to evaluate how goalies are impacted by the changing equipment before needing to make a long term decision. And he’s old enough to not clog up the net if one of Ortio, Gilles, etc starts being able to take over, while still being young enough you could work with him as the starter for at least 4 or 5 years if needed.

            Guess that’s settled then, Elliot should be our starter next year 😉

  • freethe flames

    I heard today that the plan is to play Ortio Friday and Bacstrom in Montreal. Why not play Hiller against the Leafs. These two games are games we could win, but playing Hiller would help in the daft lottery (no I did not spell it wrong but any system that allows the same team to win 4/6 and possibly 5/7 is daft in my mind)

  • Thunder1

    I think Ortio gets a real chance with the Flames next year to earn the number one job right out of camp. He’s quick and nimble in the crease and may not be as affected by the equipment shrinkage as big goalies might. Six foot six inch five holes are harder to close up than six foot two inch gaps. Most of those big guys are slow on the hop to boot.

    Plus, he’s gonna’ come cheap in a year when the Flames need every penny they can save.