150
Photo Credit: Stan Szeto / USA TODAY Sports

FlamesNation Top 20 Prospects: #14 David Rittich

It’s an understatement to say that the Calgary Flames’ crease situation has been complicated the past few years. The organization has struggled to find consistent goaltending since Miikka Kiprusoff retired in 2013, which has caused Brad Treliving to cast about in various directions in an effort to improve Calgary’s puck stopping.

David Rittich’s surprise contract was one of the results of those efforts. It was assumed Rittich was mostly signed to back up Jon Gillies in the AHL, but the 24-year-old actually outplayed his younger counterpart for much of the season, pushing coach Ryan Huska into a more equitable “platoon” type rotation.

An unknown commodity this time last year, Rittich’s impressive North American debut has pushed him into our top 20 prospects list.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

A brief history

Although he wasn’t on the NHL’s radar until recently, Rittich was a regular in the elite ranks of the Czech system since he was a teenager. He played for the Czech U18 and U20 junior teams and then jumped into the pro ranks in the Czech2 league at 20 years old.

By  2015-16, Rittich had worked his way up into the premier Czech league (the same one Calgary plucked Daniel Pribyl from), where he became the starter for BK Mlada Boleslav. In 48 games played that year, Rittich managed an above average .919 save percentage, good for fourth best in the league.

That impressive stat line as well as his 6’3″ frame are probably what caught Calgary’s eye. Treliving inked Rittich to a one-year “try out” type contract to see if the undrafted goalie could translate that success on the other side of the pond. And he did.

Rittich played 31 games for the Stockton Heat and finished with a .924 save rate, well above Gillies’ .910. In fact, Rittich finished seventh overall in the AHL by this measure (amongst goalies who appeared in 30 or more games) and was the second best rookie goaltender behind Columbus prospect Anton Forsberg (.926). By the time the AHL playoffs rolled around, Rittich was battling Gillies for the starter’s position in the Heat net and even ended up playing in four postseason games to Gillies’ three.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Quotable

The Toronto Star’s Scott Wheeler noted that Rittich has put himself in a good position for an NHL recall this season with his strong first North American year.

There are other goalie prospects knocking on the door for the Flames, Jon Gillies included, but Rittich’s playing time was earned last year. It’s unlikely Lack and Smith stay healthy all season and if Rittich picks up where he left off last season, he’ll likely be first in line to become the Flames’ backup as they look to get Gillies into more action. Rittich isn’t an overly athletic goalie but his sound positioning and rebound control could still someday make him a cheap NHL backup.

Stockton Heat head coach Ryan Huska attributed a lot of Rittich’s success last season to his attitude and his team-first demeanor.

He absolutely loves coming to the rink. You won’t find a guy that works on his game harder than he does. And he most definitely surprised us with how he was playing over the course of our year, where he gave us a chance to win each and every night he was in there. The greatest part or characteristic David has is he doesn’t care if we win a game 8-7 or if we win a game 1-0, as long as the team wins he’s happy. He’s kind of one of those guys where it’s not about his numbers, it’s about the win-loss column for him. As a coach, you do appreciate that.

What comes next?

Rittich was re-signed this summer to another one-year, two-way deal. His sudden prominence as a quality goalie prospect has actually made things slightly more complicated for Treliving and company since the Flames now have more pro goaltenders than spots in the organization.

With Rittich jostling with two of Calgary’s best prospects in Gillies and Tyler Parsons, he’ll have to put together another above average season in order to keep his place on the depth chart. If he can replicate or improve on his rookie season, it may force Calgary to do something about their building redundancy in the crease – which isn’t a terrible problem to have for a team that has struggled with netminding for the better part of five years.

Previously

#20 – Ryan Lomberg #19 – Adam Ollas Mattsson
#18 – Daniel Pribyl #17 – Eetu Tuulola
#16 – Adam Ruzicka #15 – Emile Poirier


  • Styxx

    Great to see the Flames keeper pipeline full with quality prospects. For the last decade it’s been a disaster, usually focusing all hope on one prospect who never lives up to the hype and succumbs to the voodoo and craters eg. McIlhenny, Ortio, McDonald etc. Hopefully this time with 3 legit prospects the team may finally show they can draft & develop top-notch keepers.

  • Puckhead

    Everything about Rittich and his play is positive. He quietly did his job and seems to have slipped under most people’s radar – he’s one player who I can’t remember being packaged up in any FN fantasy trade packages. Hope he gets a chance to show his stuff at some point and possibly position himself for a backup NHL spot next season.

  • Eggs Bennett

    I’m guessing Gilles is still a higher ranked prospect on this list? I wonder if Rittich hasn’t already superseded him, if you look at the stats and the facts (neglecting draft pedigree). We give the coach, GM, and owners a lot of crap for giving favourable minutes to certain players based on salary and expectations, but I guess the Gillies vs Rittich debacle is an example of how we are all guilty of favoring a certain player once our team has spent a certain amount of ‘investment’ into them…

    • Cfan in Van

      If Gillies/Rittich is a debacle, it’s the best kind. He’s found money, as long as they can manage minutes for both guys (emphasis on Gillies development).

      • Carl the tooth

        And rittich is only 1 year older than gillies so there both equal prospects in that regard . Rittich was definitely better last season than gillies but rookie AHL seasons goth both and Gillies was coming back from injury . I pretty much have them as eqauls at the moment.

  • BurningSensation

    An example of ‘found money’ where scouts turned up a player at nothing more than the cost of his contract.

    Make enough good low risk bets, even at long odds, and some will pay off.

  • Stu Cazz

    I suppose Rittich can be the next ‘Kipper’ in the making. Flames have 1 year to assess his potential and make the right decisions going forward. Parson’s progression will determine if Rittich and/or Gillies can return the Flames those much needed 1st & 2nd rounders lost in the Harmonic deal….having an abundance of high caliber assets is indeed a good place to be.

  • Raffydog

    I sure hope that at least one or two of these goalie prospects turn out to be the real deal. I know I’m captain pessimism, but I really don’t like the moves made at the goalie posistion this offseason. There were way better options available this year, and I feel the gm settled on Smith and Lack because they couldn’t pull off anything better. I think both goalies are going to really struggle this year, and this organization isn’t in posistion to shrug off a losing season as a learning experience.

    • supra steve

      It’s easy to “pull off (something) better”. All you have to do is give up something that you really don’t want to give up. So, what were you prepared to give up, and who were you going after?

      • Raffydog

        Not saying I have the solution, just don’t have a lot of confidence in either goalie. Sure, Smith could be outstanding this year, maybe playing on a more competitive team will light that fire in his belly, and he’ll play like an all star. But it’s just as likely he will continue to struggle, and be a detriment to the team. With no draft picks for the next couple years, this team can’t afford to have inconsistent goaltending

        • supra steve

          How does “There were way better options available this year” suddenly become “Not saying I have the solution”? Seem like if there were “way better options available”, then there had to be more than one that you were thinking of when you wrote your post. So what were they?

          • Raffydog

            Just thinking before the expansion draft, we were all on the Rantaa and Grubauer train. Seems like everyone on this blog believed those were the guys to go after. And I know the team lost confidence in him, but even Elliott has better stats then Smith and Lack. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not slagging the team or the gm, I think Tre made some really good moves this offseason, just kinda think he dropped the ball when it comes to the goalies.

          • piscera.infada

            Yeah, I mean, I’m not wild about the Smith/Lack tandem (and I’ve said a number of times that not factoring in the other issues surrounding him, I would have brought Elliott back over signing Smith). That said, I fail to see all these “other”, “better” options out that–especially those that could have been had for anything less than a ludicrous overpay. Basically, you had Darling and that’s it. Carolina also did a very good job pre-empting the market there. Even with Darling, there’s the concern that he’s not a true number one.

          • piscera.infada

            The problem with Raanta was the price he went for. He was my number-2 option before I knew the price. Grubauer was my number-1 option, but with the benefit of hindsight, it’s pretty clear Washington wasn’t letting him go–they left a pretty good, young player exposed so LV wouldn’t take him, and there weren’t really any trade speculations surrounding him (at least not to the extent there were with other goalies). I mean, it’s hard to trade for a guy that the other team clearly doesn’t want to trade.

            So the options theoretically were: Darling, Fleury (who repeatedly didn’t waive his NTC to come to Calgary), Bishop (who again, repeatedly didn’t waive his NTC to come to Calgary, and ended up signing for way too long for my liking–especially if you think one of those prospects will eventually make the jump in the near-ish future), and Elliot.

          • Raffydog

            True dat, guess I should have just left it at I hope the prospects turn out to be the real deal, cause I think we will need one or two of them at some point this season

          • Jumping Jack Flash

            Even if Smith helps win key divisional games which he has shown to do….we are in a much better position. I do not recall Elliott stealing a game last year. However , I do remember Johnson winning games he should not have won. The mental toughness needed in big early games against Edmonton was not there. Not to mention how he came unglued in the must win playoff games.

            Smith seems to be the forgotten man, since he was on a very bad team for ea extended period of time. Personally, I think the only thing that derails him from having a great season is injuries. I am not sure that Lack is better tha Rittich and Gillies at this point.

    • Toofun

      I will take the opposite side on this one, I like the moves they made in net.

      First of all I should admit that I liked last year’s moves when they were made as well and it’s disappointing that neither goalie was able to play themselves into the number 1 guy that would become a piece of the core. Right decisions, wrong outcome so they are rolling the dice and trying again.

      What do I like about the goal tending decisions? They didn’t over pay and they didn’t over commit on term.

      Smith has every reason to be successful this year, especially if Calgary’s defense plays as well as it looks like it can. You could argue that Lack is a stretch but since our prospect list has a few guys knocking on the door, it doesn’t seem like a terrible time to take a chance on a guy the coaches have worked with in the past.

    • HOCKEY83

      I’m curious as to what was better. We got those goalies at a great price. Anything higher would have made it very difficult to sign the players we needed to sign.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      I’ve never been a big Smitty fan, but I don’t buy Lack as a backup.

      Why not a Rittich or Gillies to start the years as the backup and if neither proved capable, then grab a Lack or some other B-level backup. My goodness, there are enough of them out there. How many does Vegas have?

      I suppose the one positive in having Lack now is that he will be with the club when training camp starts so he will be acculturated as a Flame from Day 1 and not on the fly as would be the case if he arrived during the season. He will be able to build trust with his D-men right from the start.

      It would be funny if Rittich and Parsons are the modern day equivalents of Nieuwendyk and Hull and the Flames once again keep and part with future Hall of Famers. Nice problem to have.

  • Rockmorton65

    I sense a pre-season trade coming. With Smith & Lack virtual locks to make the big club, I can’t see which one of Riitich/Gillies/Parsons benefits from playing in the ECHL. I am also assuming the Flames learned their lesson from the three headed goalie debacle.

    • Puckhead

      If you’re comfortable mortgaging your home on Vegas odds, be my guest. Everyone knows those odds don’t carry much weight. Your team is one injury away from a disastrous season, has a defence that is not Championship calibre (so said Chia himself), and is due to regress after a lucky season with lots of loser points.

    • TheoForever

      I would not bet on oilers winning the cup, even oiler fan Larry Fischer has ranked their defense as #26 in the league. Talbot was a huge difference maker for them last year and the question is can he keep it up.
      Had Oilers gotten same goaltender performance as Flames, they would have allowed 239 goals against ranking them 23rd in the league.

        • TheoForever

          He is number #1 goalie, based on one year it would be hard to proclaim him top 6, more like top 10.
          I know it is a hard concept to grasp for oiler fans, but anointing people is what got you guys in trouble in the first place, during the you know the decade of ……………
          However, even top goalies in the NHL cannot carry the team forever, and that d looks pretty bad.
          Oiler regression in your living rooms, soon, very soon……….

        • Puckhead

          Go look for yourself and do the research. You are the only bright light who has him ranked that high. And remember, goalies are voodoo and it doesn’t take much to fall.

        • HOCKEY83

          I have to agree. I’m a die hard flames. The year before Edmonton got Talbot he saved NYR’s season when Lundqvist went down. He’ll be great again this season. Not picking him in a pool if you are into pools just purely because you hate the oilers means you don’t know how to win pools.

      • Cfan in Van

        I’d love it if you’d continue with your Oiler Fan Translations. I’m really having a hard time understanding those guys, and could use some help…

      • TheoForever

        Jonathan Willis says: “Yamamoto excitement is a byproduct of a barren Oilers prospects cupboard”
        One of his responses: “Assuming that Jesse Puljujarvi makes the Oilers out of camp next year, the best forward prospect on Bakersfield entering 2017-18 could be either Joe Gambardella or Joey Laleggia. In what world is that a well-stocked AHL system? There’s a reason the Oilers spent the first week of free agency signing a bunch of mid-20’s AHL journeymen – because they have precious few real prospects to fill those roster slots in Bakersfield.”

          • Carl the tooth

            With rittich I’m reminded of Joni Ortio he was great in AHL too and we all were labelling him as at least an NHL backup . But……
            I’m not to sure about gillies anymore either after seeing some highlights of him in AHL getting light up from clear shots from just inside the blue line . Inconsistent.? I’d say jekle and Hyde . But he did look really good in NCAA championship tournament with jankowski and I thought Gilmour on defence looked comparable to hickey. Gillies had injury and surgery. Another of many flames prospects that need to have good seasons this year . Culkin was comparable to kulak at one point but poor kid had the worst luck with injuries . If it takes gillies another 3 years before he’s an everyday NHLer do we still keep him ? I’ve seen enough of parsons to see that he is the best goalie prospect In Flames franchise history . Parsons reminds me a lot of john Gibson of Anaheim. Rittich 1 season is not enough to project him much at all .

          • Carl the tooth

            Who’s juicy poo lol I like that one . Are you referring to pukejarvi ?.
            If he makes the team would he have to clear waivers to be sent back down again . I know when I first seen him play for edm he looked absolutely lost out there and I pegged him to be sent down before his 41 or 42 game . Can’t remember what the rule on that was on playing past game 41 on your first season entry level contract but I believe they Burt a year because of 1 more game over 41 (if I remember correctly) did oilers burn that first year on purpose?. Otherwise cherrelli is definitely my 3 Rd favourite GM (because he’s not a good GM).

        • TheoForever

          I guess you don’t need defense either. You got mickyD/Drysaddle, up front, no stars on backend, and a good goalie. No prospects means, cap hell and damnation without relief.

          • HOCKEY83

            Oilers will be struggling to get decent players due to McDavid’s and Draisaitl’s contracts. Letestu, Maroon, Jokinen, Slepyshev, Strome, Caggiula, Pakarinen, Fayne, Benning, Nurse, Broissoit all will want raises next season some of which they’ll have to give raises to before the season is over or they will lose them to free agency in the summer. Talbot will be looking for a massive raise by the end of the season going into next year and they also have 14 prospects looking for new contracts at the end of the year. Bottom line is Oilers are screwed.

        • Bean-counting cowboy

          …said no NHL GM or owner ever. What happens if the Flames end up a better team in the next few years and the Oilers still have no prospects? I can actually see the possibility of this happening.

        • Puckhead

          I will give you one ⭐️ for that comment: MickyD?. Drysaddle was propped up by MickyD and there’s no certainty he can drive his own line or if he will return for another long lonely winter under the northern lights. Talbot is a top 7-10 goalie in the NHL when you compare all his stats to other goalies last season. Now Carey Price is a star, Talbot not so much.

          • HOCKEY83

            Going to have to disagree. Carey Price is way over paid. Due to his salary and Weber’s salary Montreal will never be able to afford a great forward lineup. No goalie in this league should ever be paid more than 6 maybe 7 mil at the most. 10.5 for 8 years has ruined Montreal’s chances to compete for a long time. Price can’t steal the season for them he’s not that good.

        • Al Rain

          How exactly did the comments on a David Rittich story turn into this? Because you fed the troll. You keep feeding the trolls.

          It’s like yelling at rocks, but here goes again: Learn!

      • madjam

        I , and many others do not agree with Willis on lots of things , and at least we have the ware with all to challenge his view points . Henderson from hockeybuzz and Oilers Nation another writer we often disagree with on many subjects .

    • oilcanboyd

      The odds at this point – in the middle of August? The odds change as the season progresses – a major injury here and there, some players regressing from their career high last season, etc…, Flames taking all 5 games from the Oil…

    • Carl the tooth

      Lol Vegas see the hype on very fragile oiler team as I see it .vegas is looking to make some money of the Oilers .tgeres no way the Oilers don’t regress.

    • HOCKEY83

      Just having Montreal in 11 place odds to win the cup shows that the odds makers haven’t a clue. All it shows is that they’ve heard of Crosby and heard of McDavid and know what teams they play on.

  • I think if Smith and Lack adapt a true dual-starter roll (with no one getting an ego about the starter’s position) we’ll be fine with seeing how The Chronicle of Rittich unfolds this season.

    Then we go from there!

  • oilcanboyd

    You said, “His sudden prominence as a quality goalie prospect has actually made things slightly more complicated for Treliving and company since the Flames now have more pro goaltenders than spots in the organization.”

    Not complicated at all! You have an extra tradeable asset who could be packaged (with Brouwer, hopefully) for some help on RW, if no one shines in training camp or start of the season.

  • UpTkachuk

    With 3 young goalies in the system that all have a high potential (albeit only 2 truly ready for the next step…..maybe…), training camp would have been very interesting if Lack hadn’t been signed and the backup job left up for grabs. Credit Tre for bringing in short term solutions on both Lack and Smith. One injury could force the Flames into utilizing their AHL nest egg. Both Riddich and Gillies should be prepared to step up.

    • piscera.infada

      training camp would have been very interesting if Lack hadn’t been signed and the backup job left up for grabs

      In fairness, I’m not sure it’s any less interesting. Lack has a track-record, but he’s not so established at the role that if Rittich or Gillies were to beat him out in camp (or realistically, at any point in the season), he can’t be waived and sent to the AHL. He only costs the Flames $1.375 million against the cap this year afterall, and he’s a reasonable filler somewhere.

      • UpTkachuk

        Lack would have to clear waivers and the Flames might lose the “tradeable asset”. I don’t believe that either Rittich or Gillies have to go through waivers at this point.

        • piscera.infada

          I don’t believe he’s a “trade-able asset”. He’s literally “a body”. And seriously, if he’s being picked up off waivers, then he’s probably playing (at least) decently well–in which case, we’re probably not having this conversation.

        • Puckhead

          Realistically, who would claim Lack? Every team has a Lack or better. For that matter, unless something spectacular happens to him this year I don’t seem him netting much back in a trade scenario. Most likely a ‘one and done’ year for him.

          • HOCKEY83

            Definitely a one and done you nailed it. More than likely will be allowed to just walk at the end of this season and go UFA. He wouldn’t be worth a 7th round pick to anyone.

      • Carl the tooth

        I think we need to put parsons in Ahl the echl may not be enough challenge for him . This kid is going to be awesome I think he’s very close to nhl right now .

          • piscera.infada

            I think the argument is minutes/games played versus quality of competition. Either it’s Parsons/Rittich or Gillies with the other in the ECHL getting maybe half the starts, or you split the games with your more “seasoned” goalies, and let Parsons play as many games as he can in the ECHL. There is still an increase in skill from the OHL to the ECHL, especially for goalies. Should one of Gillies/Rittich displace Lack throughout the season, you waive Lack to the ECHL, and then you can test Parsons in the AHL splitting time with Gillies/Rittich and gauge his progress there.

          • Carl the tooth

            Maybe lack is a back up option until management sees how parsons /gillies/rittich/and lack. If lack bombs and or one of the other 3 beat out lack for a backup spot lack would be traded?or sent through waivers .so I don’t think anything is really set in stone where ever they end up starting the season .

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      It is funny how that “Swiss cheese” defence is highly regarded by people that know hockey….some of the experts have even more knowledge than yourself.

        • oilcanboyd

          OILERS BREAKING NEWS! the Oilers are somewhat ham stringed but the mammoth contract they just awarded McDavid. With an AAV of $12.5 million, the Oilers will find themselves unable to keep promising youngsters like Draisaitl around for long. If the Penguins pushed their limits, they may be able to make a run at him.

          Ollie Maatta may be available….would you go for that seeing Leon isn’t too
          hot on re-signing with the oil….and Maatta would certainly upgrade your sorry defense with Sekera out..

          • Shameless Plugger

            Oilcanboyd “Leon isn’t to hot on signing with the Oilers” ……….I guess you’re right he only signed for max term. Not keen at all…..smh !!!

        • Puckhead

          I was just doing some light-hearted reading about Chia’s salary cap mismanagement and draft failures when he was with the Bruins. If you want to pull the past into the conversation then all I can say is that the Coil are royally screwed.

        • dontcryWOLF88

          Strange how one person with a consistent viewing of the flames can keep being banned and yet still end up spouting the same opinions here on FN.

          97 train/Connors got

    • TheoForever

      …unsubstantiated rumblings………., best top pair in NHL and it wasn’t close by advance stats in Gio – Hamilton, and a good pair Brodie – Stone for the last part of the season. All in all one of the best top 3 and one of the worst bottom 3, now replaced. So, #2 rated defense core for the next season. If you going to say something, try to stay within a shade of reason, or I will stop supporting you my furry little friend.

    • Baalzamon

      You’re ignoring several things.

      1. The Flames were the sixth BEST team in the league at suppressing scoring chances last season. Objectively, goaltending was the culprit.
      2. Last season, three replacement level or worse defenders (Wideman, Engelland, and Jokipakka) received regular minutes. All of them have been replaced with superior players.

      So even if it was a “Swiss cheese defence” (and again, it objectively was not) HALF the regulars (the bad ones) have been replaced and improved upon.

      Since we’re on the subject, guess which team was the sixth WORST in the league at suppressing scoring chances…

  • The Fall

    Do goalies ever ‘earn’ a spot out of training camp?

    Don’t they usually roll in once a starter gets injured? Grab the job and never let go…

    Everyone gets injured. No way are any of these goalies trade-bait. Flames have a little bit of depth right now, that’s it.

  • Just.Visiting

    Rittich surpassed expectations last year and put himself into the mix. We now have three very good G prospects, where Parsons is projecting out as a potential star, Gillies’ star has fallen a bit, and we’re not quite sure what to make of Rittich yet. (McDonald is in a really bad spot.)

    Parsons needs minutes. While I’m OK with him perhaps starting in the ECHL, I’d prefer to see him playing in the AHL before Xmas.

    I’m hoping that there’s a three way competition for the back up spot at camp and a merit based decision. This is particularly the case when we need to look beyond 2017-2018 to prepare for the mid term.

    I would have preferred not to have done the Lack trade, seen how Rittich and Gillies looked and made any required trade for a backup during camp or early in the season if it were apparent that Rittich or Gillies were not ready to play in the NHL.

    From the game I saw Gillies play and his interviews, he looked ready for the NHL to me in at least the get your feet wet backup role.

    Having Rittich or Gillies succeed in the backup role would also offer us a very useful trading chip if it were apparent this season that all three of our prospects were high end prospects. I don’t think Lack would have the same attraction in the market if he had an OK year.

  • madjam

    Oilers went in two seasons from a soft team to the most truculent team in NHL today , and they are moreso this year with Eberle and regressive Pouliot gone . The Oilers are now built for playoffs . Thornton and Laraque just praised the Oilers for being so truculent that they nearly won it all last season . Flames not built to handle that as yet .

          • dontcryWOLF88

            The Flames are a team of rejects. We won’t get the fan fare that the draft welfare state to the north gets, yet, the Flames are lined up to be a competitive team non the less. Take away all the loser points that the oilers got last season and the flames finished above the oilers. Now, also consoder that the highest draft choice the flames have ever gotten is Bennett at #4, and I’d say it’s pretty impressive that the flames are where they are. It’s a self made team vs the welfare team. Welfare team has McDavid. Self made team has great trades and drafting. We shall see who wins out. Vegas doesn’t know. Pro commentators don’t know. Time will tell.

    • TheoForever

      Ohh, madjam “nearly won it all”, kind of like in horseshoes and hand grenades. Your arrogance and your coiler fans have no boundaries, no humility, no grounding in reality. And you wonder why everybody hates you guys.
      I went to ON, just to take a look and all you guys are talking about how delusional we are, because apparently we talk about winning the cap this year. I have seen no talk about the cup here, but over there it doesn’t stop.
      Win one series, on the back of Talbot, with terrible defensive play and you almost won the cup.
      You guys should be kissing Talbot’s ass, plus thank the lucky starts that all the top Sharks were limping.
      Here is performance of 3 teams that faced the ducks, interesting stuff, I lifted the stats from a fan on another site.

      Only Toronto gave up more scoring chances than Oilers.
      Scoring Chances Against (SCA/60) VS Ducks Playoffs
      1st Pair
      Giordano-Hamilton 14.38 17.15 * top paring in NHL
      Ekholm-Subban 22.79 21.16 * great but not as great as Gio/Hamilton
      Klefbom-Larsson 36.11 37.59 * mighty struggle, Bartkowski/England type of bad but against tough opposition
      2nd
      Brodie-Stone 25.56 26.09 * impressive
      Josi-Ellis 28.92 29.56
      Sekera-Russell 33.28 34.09 * ouch that’s bad, but what do you expect from #4 and #5 dman
      3rd
      Bartkowski-Engelland 39.16 34.54 * the suck
      Nurse-Benning 26.53 31.39 * Benning not so good, Nurse much better than expected.
      Irwin-Weber 18.07 19.11 * impressive
      You guys got outplayed, we had the worst performance by a starting goalie in couple of decades.
      Cannot wait until the season starts.

      • madjam

        Cherry pick some stats and try to infer your club defensively was better than the Oilers , yet Oilers had 10 less goals against for season and 21 more goals scored for . Pitts. had enough defense to win it all and had more goals against than a lot of clubs . They even had their best defenceman out for playoffs . Oilers have a better defence than what you fail to recognize , and most of it is young and getting better as they mature . Until Flames get a lot more offence from it’s players they are unlikely to do well in the new NHL . Even Toronto , with it’s youth infused offence , is on the upswing despite questionable defence .

        • TheoForever

          Yeah, if something doesn’t fit your narrative it is cherry picking. Even Larry Fischer got your d at #26.
          You had 10 goals less because of great play by Talbot, not because of magical defense. Here are the stats from the same site: Head to Head Flames vs Oilers.

          “The Flames allowed:
          3.7% fewer shot attempts
          0.5% fewer unblocked shot attempts
          3.0% fewer shots
          10.7% fewer scoring chances
          13.8% fewer high-danger scoring chances
          Scoring chances went in 19.6% more often against the Flames
          High-danger chances went in 13.4% more often against the Flames
          Other shots went in 0.5% more often against the Flames

          To put it another way: had the Oilers received the exact same goaltending performance the Flames did, instead of allowing 207 goals (8th in the league), they would’ve allowed 239 (23rd).”

  • Carl the tooth

    Johnny named 10t best winger by NHL.com He was 7th in NHL scoring and lady bing etc. Has there been 10 wingers that have outscored Johnny in last 3seasons ?

    • dontcryWOLF88

      For comparison, Nail Yakopov: #1 overall pick. 53-67-120pts in 292 games/five seasons (one season with the Blues). Johnny Gaudreau: #104 pick overall. 73-131-204pts in 232 games/three seasons.

      Or…

      Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: #1 overall pick. 95-170-265pts in 395 games/six seasons. Sean Monahan: #6 overall pick. 107-110-217pts in 319 games/ four seasons.

      What can we learn from the data?

      Edmonton finally hit some draft gold that they couldnt ruin, by getting McDavid. As YET ANOTHER first round pick fell into their laps, due to un-rivaled quantities of NHL suck. …Its amazing how the narrative shifts, I find. I wish the real world could work this way (it doesnt), but, you have a team like the Oilers who tie records for worst run franchises in NHL history, and then that team miraculously has a generational talent cannonball into their laps. Now, all of a sudden, all eyes are on that very recent disgrace of a team, and everybody quickly forgets that the only reason that team got the player they get so much attention from, was because they succeeded at sucking more than anybody else.

      Moving on….Is the current Flames squad good enough to win the cup? Probably not, but (fanboy time) could definitely prove to be contenders. …if everything goes right for them they could possibly even dominate…? Will all BT’s GM gambles pay off? ..not likely. I agree with his choices though, and think 60-80% of his bets will succeed. My hunches are Hamonic and Lazar trades turn into gold. Whats that based on, you might ask? Answer: humans are complicated, and context is often a key component to success. Success is also intrinsically linked to psychology. Personally, I feel the psychology of a team like the Flames, which is built around ‘long shots’, is as first-class of a culture as any team could hope for. Its the kind of culture that encourages self-belief, opportunities to overcome set-backs, and the prioritization of collectively driven victory.

      *&#@, though. Ive just gone and fed the trolls a hardy meal. Not my intention, but true expression none-the-less. Do get annoyed from critcs of the Flames though, when they say, “the Flames have no true elite talent”. That may be true, but we also havnt had any #1 overall Matthews, #2 overall Laine, #1overall MacKinnon, #1 overall Steven Stamkos, #1 overall Patrick Kane…etc.

      Ill shut up now. Peace, friends.

    • Northernlights

      41st in scoring last year. Ya he said a good player,but his contract hold out last year really hurt his production in the first two months. Probably homesick for Philly.

      • dontcryWOLF88

        Gaudreau has his issues as a player, last year seemed to be him coming to terms with a bunch of that. His size definitly does limit him in certain circumstances (you wont see him making camp in front of the net) Any GM would want him on their team though. In any event, even at his lower point totals from last year, he is a major steal from the fourth round. ..that was my main point.

        ..also important point…and not sure why, in this age of analytics, that this doesnt hold more weight. But, if you add up Gaudreau and Monahans combined points from last year, the figure is 119. Their combined salary is $13.125m. Thats $110 294 per point. McDavid had 100pts last year, and his price has been set at $12.5m. His dollars to point figure is $125 000.

        McDavid is impressive. No doubt. However, he is still just one player. Simple math shows here, though, that on the scoreboard and cap, his production can be divided. Maybe there are intangible benefits he brings with his celebrity status and exceptional abilities..that guys like Gaudreau or Monahan dont..? Almost everybody i think will take McDavid over Gaudreau/Monahan…but does the logic support that? ..or do humans just favour the bigger celebrity..? hmmm. oh..also, having two lower paid, but still very useful players, makes that team more resiliant to injuries than loading value/cap into one player.

        • Northernlights

          I see what your logic is but ANY GM would take McDavid over Gaudreau and Monahan and throw in anyone else you’d like.
          The fact is McDavid is the most electrifying player in the league by a mile.

          • OKG

            Pavel Bure was once the most electrifying player in the league by a mile.
            0 Cups.
            Jarome Iginla was once the most electrifying player in the league by a mile.
            0 Cups.
            Jaromir Jagr was once the most electrifying player in the league by a mile.
            0 Cups without being 66’s sidekick.
            Steven Stamkos was once the most electrifying player in the league by a mile.
            0 Cups so far, and hasn’t even been healthy for three of the last four seasons.

            Congrats on having the most electrifying league in the league by a mile, though.