If you’ve hung around these parts lately, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve been doing our fair share of hand-wringing regarding the goaltending situation at all levels of the Calgary Flames organization.
Simply put: the Flames need to find places for many, many goalies to play. Potentially one domino has finally toppled, as earlier today the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen acquired goaltender Nick Schneider from the Medicine Hat Tigers for a draft pick.
The swap seemingly provides some clarity regarding the goaltending plan for next season, pending oodles of subsequent moves.
For the Hitmen, adding Schneider gives them a different overage starter. The team relied upon ’97-born Cody Porter for much of last season, but he was thrashed with injuries down the stretch (and when he wasn’t injured he struggled with consistency). Presumably, Schneider and ’98-born Kyle Dumba – Matt’s brother – will split starts, with
Presumably, Schneider and ’98-born Kyle Dumba – Matt’s brother – will split starts, with duties maybe skewed towards Schneider, given the Flames own the Hitmen and probably want him to develop. Between Porter’s age (he’s an overager, too) and injuries, he seems the obvious odd man out. For what it’s worth, Schneider had slightly worse underlying numbers than Porter in more appearances.
For what it’s worth, Schneider had slightly worse underlying numbers than Porter in more appearances.
For the Tigers, the move alleviates a bit of a log-jam. The club used combinations of Schneider, ’97-born Michael Bullion and 2000-born Duncan McGovern throughout the season. Schneider had injury issues down the stretch and also went home for a stretch, so the team really leaned on Bullion. They recently acquired Jordan Hollett from Regina, so presumably the plan is to use Hollett and McGovern this season and use their three overage spots on skaters.
For the Flames, figuring out a home for Schneider alleviates a crazy logjam for the organization as they try to find homes for Tyler Parsons, Mason McDonald, Tom McCollum, David Rittich and Jon Gillies. Rittich and Gillies are restricted free agents, but both of them are likely to be (a) qualified and (b) re-signed given their performances last season.
The Flames have two spots for goalies in Stockton and likely one spot in their ECHL affiliate (which will be finalized in the coming weeks), but they have five minor-pro bodies to juggle even with Schneider returning to the WHL for his overage season.
Presumably, more goaltending-related moves are coming.