Folks, it sure sounds like the Calgary Flames will be beginning their six-game road trip without one of their best players. As reported by our friends at Sportsnet 960 The Fan and discussed by Pat Steinberg on The Big Show on Tuesday afternoon, goaltender Mike Smith – who left the Flames’ 7-4 victory over St. Louis on Monday night after the first period – did not travel with the team to Detroit.
There has been no official announcement of an injury or its severity by the Flames, nor has Smith been placed on injured reserve. It was mentioned during the radio discussion that Smith may still rejoin the team at some point during the road trip.
Before 3 p.m. MT tomorrow (when rosters are logged by the league for cap compliance purposes), the Flames will recall a goaltender from the AHL’s Stockton Heat: either Jon Gillies or David Rittich. Gillies has played more than Rittich, but Rittich has better numbers so far this season. The Heat have been operating under a 1A/1B scheme this season, so either guy would be a justifiable recall based on usage and performance.
- Gillies is 4-3-1 with a 2.50 goals against average and .918 save percentage this season; he has one NHL game under his belt (a win last season against Los Angeles).
- Rittich is 4-1-0 with a 2.20 goals against average and .928 save percentage; he has one NHL period under his belt (in relief in a loss last season against San Jose).
Under the terms of the CBA, since the Flames won’t have two healthy goaltenders they aren’t required to place Smith on the injured reserve to open a roster spot because they’re technically under emergency roster conditions.
If Smith’s injury is short term, they can bring up Gillies or Rittich on emergency recall and return them to the AHL whenever they need to. If Smith is placed on the IR, it’s an indication that perhaps his injury will linger for longer than a week – but there’s no requirement to do so and since Smith will be on the salary cap either way, there’s no real benefit to placing him on the IR.