The Calgary Flames bounced back from their 8-2 loss in Detroit on Wednesday with a 5-4 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers. In the afterglow of that victory, we assembled the crew for our weekly chat to discuss the perception that Eddie Lack isn’t a good fit as backup (and other things).
Ryan Pike: To begin: is the Eddie Lack panic justified in your opinion(s)? I mean, he’s only played something like nine periods as a Flames goalie.
karimkurji (Karim Kurji): No, gotta give Lack a fair shot to prove himself. His leash can’t be very long though.
Ryan Pike: What would a “fair shot” be?
ctibs (Christian Tiberi): ehhh i feel for him. rough to come in cold unexpected and then get shelled because of a terrible PK. i don’t like the play of mike smith recently, but i don’t think lack is going to be the saviour. smith has been under .900 for his last five full games, if i’m not mistaken. (and was also terrible in the first period against st louis but we’ll write that one off)
karimkurji: Yeah it’s tough. Lack had some seriously unucky things happen to him the other day and it’s totally unfair to judge his play off that game. Despite Smith’s shaky play lately, he does still make key saves here and there. Lack just didn’t.
Ryan Pike: I’ll say this: Smith can make many of the saves that Lack can’t, but both are getting victimized by the team’s defensive play in front of them.
karimkurji: I’d give Lack a couple more starts to see what he can do
ctibs: there’s a few back to backs until the new year, so we’ll see what he’s made of
karimkurji: For the sake or argument, let’s say Lack is just horrible in his next ~2 starts. What do the Flames do?
Ryan Pike: I think the short answer is “it depends.”
ctibs: yeah it depends. we’ll see how gillies or rittich is doing in the AHL, we’ll see how smith is holding up in the NHL. not an easy answer to that one.
Ryan Pike: David Rittich has similiar AHL numbers to what Lack had in his time there. Would he necessarily be better?
ctibs: no. i think it’s hard not to get excited about him because of his sv% but he’s inconsistent
karimkurji: I really thought Lack would be better
ctibs: two games though. still room to improve
Ryan Pike: he’s played, what? two full games and two games of mop-up?
ctibs: i’ll say this about smith: he has his hot streaks and cold streaks, but you can dependably lean on him for those hot streaks. it’s not like last year where you have to go with johnson because elliott stinks, but then johnson stinks so you have to go back to elliott, who doesn’t improve
Ryan Pike: That said, if the Flames are able to set up Lack in a few nice situations to succeed and he doesn’t, then it’s probably time to have a “what about Rittich?” conversation. But that’s probably a Christmas-time problem.
karimkurji: I’d like to see the Flames trade Rittich, but I know it’s not that easy
Ryan Pike: There’s enough teams with goaltending questions that they probably get calls about him.
ctibs: i wouldn’t trade for a 24 year old AHL #2 who has two (if that) periods of NHL hockey
ctibs: like vegas went to the WHL for goalie help and montreal went with the corpse of niemi
Ryan Pike: Vegas might’ve been more like nobody wanted to help out McPhee after he twisted the knife during expansion.
karimkurji: Let’s not get into Vegas’ player management. It boggles my mind how they’ve been handling things over there
Ryan Pike: Speaking of player management: Glenn Gawdin’s a Flame! That’s neat.
ctibs: he’s cool
karimkurji: Is he actually good
Ryan Pike: He’s shooting at 17%. Steenbergen is 33%.
ctibs: it’s a good bet, but he’s a guy who wasn’t much until he was in his fifth WHL season. best case, he’s a micheal ferland type pickup, worst case, brett pollock
karimkurji: In that case, I like the signing!
Ryan Pike: He’s well-regarded in junior circles, and the thought process is that the things he does well should translate at least to the AHL level.
ctibs: the best case is often not the most likely outcome, remember
Ryan Pike: He’s probably an AHL body, but they need centers in Stockton next season.
ctibs: stockton could be a fun team to watch next year. a long ways away, but you could add dube, phillips, tuulola, fox, valimaki, fischer, and gawdin to that roster next year
Ryan Pike: And Parsons as backup probably, too.
karimkurji: Mangiapane and Andersson are likely gone
ctibs: yeah that’s a fun but too early chat to have: who graduates next year?
Ryan Pike: let’s not open that can of worms. that’s an even more loaded “that depends”
ctibs: i’m in the mood for fun
karimkurji: Is Johnny Gaudreau gonna score 100 points?
ctibs: 200 points
Ryan Pike: The top line is pretty good, I guess.
ctibs: in all seriousness, those guys have taken their respective games to another level
karimkurji: Absolutely. That breakdown by Cassie Campbell on Gaudreau’s zone entries this year compared to last was so great. And Ferland is playing pretty darn well
— FlamesNation (@FlamesNation) November 18, 2017
karimkurji: Monahan is on a 50 goal pace now too
ctibs: i’m so happy with ferland. i thought he would at least hack it until they found a bona fide 1RW, but he’s actually looking like one which is scary
Ryan Pike: His agent is probably sad he agreed to a two-year deal. I mean, he’s gonna cash in either way…
karimkurji: I honestly thought he would fail miserably this year. Good on him for not
ctibs: some of his /60 rates are looking nice
Ryan Pike: Let’s see if he can do it for 82 games, but he’s a bargain right now.
karimkurji: That third line is terrible on the road. What happens there going forward? Actually they did hit two posts today
ctibs: they were not great for the rest of the game though. part of their success has been because glen is able to control matchups at home by heavily sheltering them
Ryan Pike: Honestly? Probably that happens on the road, or Glen hopes they progress a bit and dig themselves out of it.
All aboard pic.twitter.com/VSyFo73rKA
— Ryan Leslie (@ryanleslie73) November 18, 2017
karimkurji: This is the most amazing thing ever. I want to go on a 50s themed train ride!
Ryan Pike: Eddie Lack in a porkpie hat
ctibs: there’s probably a good flames dot com video coming up on this. i imagine versteeg adding “see?” to the end of all of his sentences
Editor’s note: There sure is!
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) November 19, 2017
ctibs: i also like paul jerrard getting in on the action
karimkurji: This feels weird to say, but Troy Brouwer looks great
Ryan Pike: The pocket watch is a nice touch.
karimkurji: Accessorizing is key
ctibs: smh at this team for promoting the usage of tobacco products. (says the guy who has versteeg with a huge cigar in his mouth as his profile picture)
Ryan Pike: As we wind this sucker down, might I add: holy crap, the Flames have two players in the top 20 in scoring. And one of them is third.
karimkurji: The Flames have one of the best top 6s in the league. If the third line starts doing good things more consistently… yikes
Ryan Pike: They’ve been good at home. They have four road games left on this trip to show they can do it on the road, as well.