With the waiver process complete, the Calgary Flames have made a roster swap.
The Flames have sent backup goaltender Eddie Lack to the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League and summoned Stockton’s backup, David Rittich, to be Mike Smith’s caddy for the foreseeable future. The move will save the Flames approximately $300,000 in cap space, even when factoring in the $350,000 that Lack will cost them against their NHL cap while he’s in the AHL.
Postmedia’s Wes Gilbertson, traveling with the team, had the scoop first.
If you’re looking for clues on #Flames new backup goalie, I️ just helped David Rittich find the security entrance at the rink in Dallas.
— Wes Gilbertson (@WesGilbertson) November 24, 2017
Lack, 29, went on waivers yesterday. He has a 1-2-0 record with a 5.29 goals against average and .813 save percentage in four appearances – two as a starter and two in relief. He was acquired from Carolina in a salary retention deal, with the hope that former Vancouver assistant coach Glen Gulutzan could help him recapture his confidence (and that Jordan Sigalet could help him recapture his game). It hasn’t worked out that well so far and so he’s headed to the farm to hopefully get his mojo back.
Rittich, 25, is up at the NHL level for the second time in his career. He made his NHL debut in the final game of last season, playing the third period in a Flames loss against San Jose. He’s been the better goaltender, statistically, in Stockton over the past two seasons: 20-12-4 with a 2.25 goals against average and .925 save percentage (and seven shutouts).
Considering that the Flames have already had Jon Gillies up this season, bringing Rittich up for an audition makes a good deal of sense to help them figure out what they have in each player. Rittich is waiver eligible next season (while Gillies is exempt for another year), so giving him the first crack at the NHL gig makes a lot of sense.
Expect Rittich to get the start on Saturday against Colorado.