Photo Credit: Perry Nelson / USA TODAY Sports

Flames recall Jon Gillies from Stockton, Mike Smith out day-to-day

The Calgary Flames will be without goaltender Mike Smith for a little while, but they’re going to be getting some backup from their farm team.

The club announced today that Smith is out day-to-day with an upper-body injury, and that they’ve recalled Jon Gillies from the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat on an emergency basis. At least for a game or two, Gillies will operate as backup to Eddie Lack.

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Gillies, 23, was the Flames’ third round selection in a 2012 NHL Draft class that has already produced Mark Jankowski (first round) and Brett Kulak (fourth round) as far as contributing NHLers go.

Gillies has posted a 4-3-1 record in Stockton with a 2.50 goals against average and .918 save percentage. David Rittich has better numbers in fewer games, but over the past two seasons the priority has seemingly been to get Gillies accustomed to the NHL’s bright lights – he was recalled for more days last season than Rittich, and played a full game, while Rittich was only given a period in relief.

It’s unclear how long “day-to-day” actually means, or if Gillies will end up actually factoring into any games. But, for now, he’s with the big club as Smith continues to recover. Since he’s in the NHL on an emergency basis and Smith isn’t on the injured reserve, Gillies can be returned to the AHL at any time.

  • Danomitee

    Give Eddie the start and go from there. We honestly don’t have a clue what we have in Lack just yet, he deserves a shot to prove he can be a strong backup. If he blows up tonight then go with Gilles next game, if Smitty is still injured.

    Honestly, I think this could be the best thing to happen to the Flames. Smith has played wayyy to many games because we don’t know what Lack is like, so if he ends up being terrible then we can ship him out of town and move up one of Rittich/Gilles and have Parsons move to the AHL. Everyone wins. Montreal just picked up Niemi for crying out loud.

  • Azim

    I was among those hoping Riitch would get the call over Gillies based on better play. But perhaps this move signifies that management currently views Riitch over Gillies? Gillies will likely just sit as a back up for this stretch (assuming Smith is only out for a few games), while Riitch will face more rubber.

  • Alberta Ice

    I really hope we can see Gillies, Rittich, and Parsons get some big time NHL action this year. Got to like all that potential sitting in the wings. (Vegas would love to have this problem. How are they not going to stem the bleeding of goals without Fleury back? 5th in line goalie last night? Yikes.) Meanwhile, I hope Lack isn’t lacking in his play for us tonight with this opportunity to prove himself as a backup. And no need to state how awesome Smith has been for us thus far! GFG.

    • Scary Gary

      What has Parsons done to deserve NHL time this year? He’s 20 and has an 0.881 save percentage in the ECHL. Also I’d be fine if none of the prospect goalies saw NHL time this year, that would mean we’re playing meaningful games and our NHL goalies are performing.

  • Squishin

    I’m not surprised Smith is injured, I honestly think he’s been fighting something since the Detroit game.
    Come on Eddie! I remember being impressed with Lack in 2015-2016 during the playoff series against Vancouver. Let’s see that level of goalie again.

  • Jobu

    Jobu reminding the nation that Rittich is 2 years older than Gillies with 4 more years playing against men. Think of how much better Gillies might be with 2-3 more years of playing against the pros. He’s up with the big club to learn and for coaches to get a closer look. Rittich won’t be a long term solution but could and should be our backup next year.

    • RKD

      Bigger and taller goalies aren’t necessarily better. We’ve seen our fair share of gangly goalies who aren’t mobile. Smith is both tall but athletic like nobody’s business.

      • Carl the tooth

        Always the exception to the rule for anything.But if you look around the league that’s what teams are leaning towards .Rittich could be another Joni Ortio for all we know . Neither of them have played enough NHL to know which one is better at this point .Goalie stats for AHL goalies you need to take them with grains of salts .

  • McRib

    The Flames are in a weird situation because the main roster has been so healthy the last couple of years, I find myself ALMOST hoping for some minor injuries. Just to see someone like Rittich, Gillies, Klimchuk, Mangiapane, Andersson, Kylington get a chance with big club.

    I don’t disagree with some people wanting Rittich over Gillies, but in Gillies defense he has been committed to this organization a lot longer then Rittich.

  • HAL MacInnis

    If anybody deserves a rest, it’s Mike Smith. He’s the main reason why we’re contending for a playoff spot right now. The older you get, the longer it takes to heal. Take all the time you need, Mike.

    I would prefer Rittich over Gillies. Rittich might not have a higher ceiling then Gillies, but he’s the better choice at this time. That said, I still really want to see where Gillies is at. If you bring up a player, it’s because you trust him to do the job. I hope to see a Flames game with Gillies between the pipes before Smith comes back. Let’s hope it’s not because Lack gets lit up early in a game though. 😉

  • Stockton's Finest

    If Gillies does get into a game, take a good long look at his play. From watching him since the beginning of last year, here are a few things to watch for if/when he gets into a game.
    1) How many rebounds he give up vs. how many shots he swallows up. He tends to kick save a lot and gives big juicy rebounds. This tends to make the defense nervous where they have to concentrate on play in their own end and hesitant to jump into the rush where applicable.
    2) where does he get beat. Recently he has given a lot of top shelf goals. He tends to go down fast, which not only opens the top side, but also provides a 5-hole opening (especially since he is 6′ 4″).
    3) how many soft goals he allows. Gillies can make a highlight reel save or two, but he tends to let in soft goals when not fully focused.

    With Gillies up, at least I know Rittich will be in net for this weekend’s games against Bakersfield. Haven’t heard word if Parsons (or McDonald) is coming up from KC.

    • Cheeky

      I notice that same style with most of our taller goalies (Hillier, Johnson, Gillies, McDonald, even Elliott and Ortio at times) going down to cover net and getting beat up top. Gotta be a goalie coach style…Smith’s not on that bandwagon (yet), hoping he keeps to his style as it’s working…

  • Rockmorton65

    I’m looking forward to see Lack carry the mail for a few games. Let him get a few starts before they decide what they have. Two starts two months doesn’t give him a fair assessment