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Flames re-sign David Rittich (one year, one-way, $800k)

The Calgary Flames have avoided another arbitration hearing. Just days before his hearing, the Flames have re-signed goaltender David Rittich to a one-year, one-way deal worth $800,000. Rittich’s hearing was scheduled for July 28, so both sides were to have filed their arguments by this morning.

Rittich, 25, took over the backup job behind Mike Smith early last season when the club pulled the parachute on the Eddie Lack experiment. He ended up being very good as the backup, but faltered during the month-long stretch when Smith was injured and he had to be leaned on as an NHL starter without much experience in that role.

Rittich’s situation differs from Jon Gillies’, also re-signed this summer, in a handful of ways.

  • Rittich is a year older than Gillies.
  • Rittich is waiver eligible this season, while Gillies is not.
  • Rittich is signed to a one-way for this season, while Gillies is not.
  • Rittich has a cap hit that’s $50,000 higher than Gillies’.

All of these factors give Rittich an inside track on winning the backup job this season, but it’s not a done deal quite yet.

The Flames have three restricted free agents left to sign: Noah Hanifin, Garnet Hathaway and Hunter Shinkaruk. Hathaway’s arbitration hearing is scheduled for July 30.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    So Kulak is worth league minimum to Tre, but Rittich, who was an absolute tire fire when Smitty went down, is worth $800K.

    Does that wage reflect replacement value in that Rittich is presumably harder to replace than Kulak?

    As Rittich bumbled and fumbled in the net when he was needed most last season by his mates, I couldn’t help but notice how much he reminded me of Lack[ing] Eddie.

    • Quinteco

      Um, Kulak is getting paid $100,000 more than Rittich. While I agree with your assessment on their play, in the end I think both are getting at least close to what they should be.

        • Quinteco

          I think it was all just a calculated move on Tre’s part to ensure that he stayed below $1M. He knew the arbitrator would award him somewhere in the middle.

          • Jobu

            No chance Kulak is going to be a locker room cancer. This year is his last chance to prove hes an NHLer. If hes going to cause trouble he can be easily waived again and pushed into the minors where no one will ever hear from him again. Would definately be a career killer on his part. Jobu agrees… this dead horse of a topic has been flogged too much.

    • Longshot1977

      Here’s the difference.

      There are many alternatives to playing Kulak, each of which may be better than Kulak. Kulak plays 3rd pairing minutes and situations, and him or his alternative can be sheltered.

      There is really only one alternative to playing Rittich, and he’s basically as unproven as Rittich is. He is a goaltender, and there’s no way to shelter him or his alternative if things aren’t working.

      • Quinteco

        Absolutely. And I think this makes Rittich a very tradeable asset should neither he or Gillies look ready to take the reigns as backup. Florida is going to have to try to sneak Hutchinson through waivers or trade either him or Reimer before the season starts. There’s still time to get the backup position sorted out.

          • Quinteco

            I think trading Stone is a strong possibility during training camp and the Bryout still could happen after the arbitration window (though I doubt it happens this year). I agree that the goaltending situation as it currently stands is iffy at best, but there’s still time to fix it and more flexibility that there might seem.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        Yeah there is. It is called getting a guy who can stop the damn puck about 92% of the time.

        Tre has tried to address his team’s many deficiencies this offseason, but he has yet to iron out his wrinkly crease. Could change before summer is up, so I am only mentioning this point, not belabouring or bemoaning it.

        Funny, but if the goaltending as it now is goes sideways this season and results in the club playing golf in mid April, we will all look back and say, “Why oh why did the man not try and fix the goaltending last summer when he had bucks and options?” Could bad goaltending be the epitaph for Tre as Flames GM and yet again the downfall of Billy Peters?

        • Justthateasy

          Nigel, you don’t know if you have succeeded with goaltender changes until long after the fact. You could pay a premium for a guy like Fleury and let the rest of the team lag. One man is not a savior.
          Besides, there is no one available out there anyway.
          So Tre has done absolutely the right thing by building the team first.

          • BlueMoonNigel

            Maybe, but you cannot deny that this club has been doomed by bad goaltending since Kipper packed it in. Most here are also quick to say that had Peters had even average goaltending in Carolina, he would have had some playoff clubs.

            Tre this summer has gone the route of fixing everything but goaltending. We will see if it was the right move later this year, and if it wasn’t, can he fix it on the fly? If he can’t and the club doesn’t make the playoffs, who pays? Gotta be Tre as it will be impressed to death that he failed to address his shaky netminding.

        • BringtheFire 2.0

          All I know is we got Kulak for under a mill for a year. I’m good with that.

          Tre is a hard man to negotiate with sometimes. I’m good with that too.

        • TKO

          can you tell us what Treliving has or hasn’t done to rectify the goalie situation? I didn’t think so. you have no clue whether he has just ignored this situation, or whether he has turned every stone possible to address it, and could not find options or make options work. but, continue on with your noise, that’s fine, just don’t expect to get much respect for your scathing criticisms that have no basis in actual knowledge, but are based on your feelings and guesses

      • BlueMoonNigel

        True it is business, but the players are still human beings with feelings and emotions and ambitions and that can’t be overlooked or minimalized. The recent case of Dougie Hamilton being traded for reasons pertaining very little to his ability and value as a hockey player is a clear example of this.

    • JusAFlamer

      the arbitration amount given by the club does not reflect what he was being offered prior to arbitration.
      – the qualifying offer was higher than what was sent to arb
      – there was negotiations prior to arb
      – once went to arb why not file amount at minimum and not what was being offered in various negotiations by the club.

      “think” the sticking point was 1way or 2way
      people need to stop taking the arbitration number submitted as the actual offered to player number

    • BlueMoonNigel

      No, it is all about Tre taking the lowest paid guy on the team to arbitration to save a few hundred thousand. Tre looked very amateurish on this one and lends further credence to the rumour that the great David Polie’s pet name for Tre is Busher.

      • Justeen Trudope

        Oh we have another bleeding heart here. According to Nigel there is no use for GMs everyone should just decide their own salaries. Clearly you don’t run a business and for your sake I hope your wife keeps you on a very low allowance

      • TKO

        ya, he should not worrie about a feww hundred thousand with fringe, replacement level guys… whats a few hundred thousand extra to 4 or 5 guys? nothing… besides, it looks like he will have hundreds of exrta dollars to play with here, so why so stingy?

      • Mickey O'Reaves

        Trashing a guy’s posts automatically without reading what they’ve said sounds very Orwellian to me. It is like deciding whether to laugh at a joke or not depending on who said it.

      • The Beej

        @bmnigel

        Consistently saving a couple hundred thousand on every contract is what keeps you out of salary cap jail and allows you to field a team like we have currently.

        Look at what they have done in Edmonton where they are so eager to throw money around. Russell at $4m. They dont so anything to keep contracts down and are in trouble now. (Sorry to keep picking on you Edm but it is so easy and it makes sense for the sake of comparison)

        Tre didnt look amateurish. He looked shrewd and hard. He took a risk with Kulak. A risk our depth allowed hom to take.

  • Afterburn

    I like this signing. Plenty left to get Hanafin signed to a bridge if that’s what Tre’s thinking. Personally I would like to see something long term for Hanafin around 4.5 per. I pretty sure Tre’s not done yet. I’m not an advocate of buying out Brouwer (although I’m not a big fan of his) but I have a feeling it’s going to happen.

      • Redleader

        So you wouldn’t take the retro berra trade there puck ? If I could trade Rittich for a second round pick you bet I take that deal . Hey puck I’m always game for any wagers vs you , I don’t mind catering to the hired help .

        • FL🔥MES

          By trading Rittich you leave us with only one backup option – Gillies. I’m not comfortable with that option. And if Smith went down I’d tie you between the goal posts for trading away Rittich for a lottery pick. I’m not heartless though, you could wear a can.

  • Jimmyhaggis

    This signing does absolutely nothing to fix the glaring problem in net. Tre has been shoring up the offense and defense but avoiding the area where it counts.

    • Getpucksdeep

      Balderdash. Since about 2011 only Boston with Tim Thomas didn’t draft and develop their own cup winning goalie. Every other cup winner, Washington, Pittsburgh, LA and Chicago developed their goalies out of their systems. Bishop didn’t help Dallas much at all for instance. The Flames have 3 good goal prospects and the right move is to continue their development. Lack, Elliott and Hillier were all “better” goalies than they had. Smith is carrying the mail in the interim while these 3 guys work their way up. Odds you’ll trade for a goalie and win it all are much lower.

    • Honkydonk

      You can’t address something of an opportunity does not exist to do so and all you are stuck with is the problem.

      We have Smith this year and long term Gillies at least is a back up.. Parson is ??? I’m sure Tre will swing at it when the right player is available to do so.

    • C-of-Dread

      Actually, last year the most glaring problem was NOT goaltending. If you recall. Many nights, Mike Smith had to stand on his head just to keep the Flames in the game because they couldn’t score. Fixing the lack of scoring issue has been the main focus this off-season and I don’t think many, if any could argue that he has addressed that in spades! The area where it counts most is goals, and the Flames shouldn’t have the same ineptitude this year as last.

    • JusAFlamer

      yes many do not realize that trades take 2 sides.
      most cap dumps require also giving up assets that are worth something to get the other side to agree.

      the same people asking for buyouts not taking long view either. do you really want to still be adding browers cap hit (buyout size) 4 years after he gone?

    • Stockton's Finest

      Spot on! Rittich suffered from poor usage by an untrusting coach. How many games last year screamed for Rittich start yet GG continued to trot out Smith. If Rittich was used properly, he doesn’t nose dive like that. You go from hardly being used to full time usage in your first year in the NHL? And a spotty defense in front of you? Proper usage and expectations need to be set. If Rittich is above .500 and somewhere around .915 save % and a 2.40 GAA that should serve us well.

  • Mongauchuk

    There is just as good a chance that Rittich or Gillies have a good year as there is in a bad one. They are developing. There are no guarantees bringing in some one else will work. Just look at the last 10 years or so.

    • Kevin R

      We brought in Elliott, we brought Hillier, we brought in Ramos, we brought in Johnson & while each had their moments, were not able to give us the consistent goaltending a franchise goalie provides teams. Who out there is available that we can pick up & slide him right into our team & cap? People whining about the goaltending just seem to complain & criticize Tre but really, what are Tre’s choices. Quite frankly, Smith gave us the as close to winning netminding as we have seen for awhile. We are invested in 1 more year of Smith at 4.2mill cap hit & how we are proceeding is totally reasonable with the options out there. If Smith goes down again, I guess we cross that bridge if Riitch & Gilles dont step up again. There will be options but they will be expensive or regressing. Either way, they will require us making other player moves to accommodate going in a different direction.

  • Boring Flames Fan

    This is the first year I have no clue how our roster will look like come October.
    How does Mr. Peter’s assemble it? Your guess is probably better than mine.

    After the preseason, we will have a better understanding of the roster.

    I don’t know why we’re so excited to question the makeup of our team? It certainly looks 100% better than last season.

    I hope Rittich does well. He’s looks calm in the net, but he’s still a rookie. Perhaps if we support our players, that might help?

    • Cfan in Van

      Agreed. It’s certainly a bit more exciting to head into the season with so many changes. Peters has his work cut out for him, but he must be licking his chops on all the options he has.

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      I don’t think there’s a person on FN who thinks Tre hasn’t fantastcized this group, but your; “100%” fails to account for goaltending.

      You know when Luke Skywalker went through that trench and shot into that little hole to blow up the Death Star? Our goaltending could be that little hole.

  • MDG1600

    Wow, lots of complaining about Flames goalie situation. Fact is the Flames did not have the $$$ to upgrade both goaltending and goalscoring. They made the right choice upgrading goalscoring imho because they had better goaltending prospects than goalscoring prospects. Of course it is a risk but that is the nature of the business. If the Flames didn’t have these challenges to deal with the Flames would be in the mix as Vegas favourites for the Stanely Cup.

  • cjc

    Because I love looking at comparables – here is how 36 y.o. goalies (that were also presumptive starters for their teams) have played since last lockout – GP and S%

    Luongo (62 GP, .922, brief injury)
    Anderson (58, .898, brief injury)
    Thomas (57, .938)
    Miller (54, .914, brief injury)
    Kolzig (54, .910)
    Hedberg (47, .915, injuries)
    Osgood (46, .887, injuries)
    Roloson (43, .908, injuries)
    Nabokov (42, .914, injuries)
    Brodeur (31, .916 – injury)
    Kiprusoff (24, .882 – injury/lockout year)
    Snow (20, .886, injury)
    Khabibulin (18, .909 – injury)

    13 36-year old goalies have entered the season as their team’s presumptive starter since 2005-2006. Only 5 played more than 50 games, only 1 more than 60. Only 2 posted SV% above .920 (Luongo & Thomas) – they are both elite goalies. After them the best season was a .916 by Brodeur (a pseudo-elite goalie) in an injury shortened season. In short, it is a pretty big ask for Smith to duplicate last season, let alone improve on it.

    • Kevin R

      Thats the thing, I dont think anyone expects him to improve on it, if he can match it & we see improvement from our developing backups, we should be ahead. I also am really hoping brings more structure in the D zone than the run to box formation GG had our guys default to.

    • Kevin R

      Also, those goalies in the 40 game range had injuries. Nothing wrong with hoping we get a healthy season out of Smith. Probability is unlikely but not unreasonable to hope.

    • Atomic Clown

      I’m sorry, did you call Brodeur a pseudo-elite goalie? Other than Hasek, there’s been no better goalie in the history of the NHL. They literally had to make a new rule because of how good he was at getting the puck back out after a dump in. Roy was even a step down from Brodeur

      • cjc

        Played behind the best and stingiest d in the league for years? New Jersey perfected the trap. He is only a career .912 goalie, compared to Roy who posted .910 playing in a time where a lot more goals were scored (yes I know their careers overlap). There were a few years where Brodeur had the upper hand, but Roy usually posted a better save% across a season.

        • Atomic Clown

          You dont win as much hardware as Brodeur without being the best in the game. Neither do you set the all time record for wins and shutouts, which looks unbreakable. Also, he has a better career GAA than Roy.

        • C-of-Dread

          CJC – 1 hour before posting this Roy vs. Brodeur argument and defensive systems, You literally posted
          “Save % is largely independent of those factors though.”
          In response to,
          “A more structured team defensive system will help improve the goalies’ ability to stop the puck. Was a tire fire under GG and the Assistant in charge of the D.”

          Come on! You’re all over the place and even arguing against yourself.
          Get your $#!T together!

  • BringtheFire 2.0

    So, I get that this isn’t really the place for this, but it’s summer and we’re all bored, so, poll!!

    If you could pick a team to beat for the cup, who would it be? And the trick is you can’t say Montreal or Toronto!!!

    My pick is Boston. Hate Boston.

  • Boring Flames Fan

    Since we’re all evaluating players, I thought I’d take a moment to get a feel for our members: I’m not trying to be offensive.

    WW- very hockey knowledgeable, likes to stir the pot, but I really like him

    Flames- Puck? Our comedian who pulls off comments that most of us would look silly trying to do

    Off the wall- great story teller, makes you think.

    Piscera- A genius, probably got all A’s in school. Knows what he’s talking about- all the time

    Kevin- Really likeable guy, good takes on all posts

    Blue Moon- Looks at our team with different glasses. I don’t think he likes Treliving.

    Baalzamon- real smart, seldom wrong. I like his take on everything

    Mickey- great guy, still grieving Reaves, but has lots of value in his comments and I appreciate his views

    Derzie- miserable

    Free the Flames- keeps up with everything, even prospects. Flys under the radar, but is very good with details

    Btf- not sure about this one, been much better lately, but can’t help thinking he’s also an Oilers fan.

    Jobu- just a really cool guy, really like him

    Brian McGrattan- love his enthusiasm

    Boring Flames fan- just a guy who is trying to enjoy FN

  • JoelOttosJock

    Fair signing for both sides. Not thrilled with the Flames goaltending situation heading into the season, but I am optimistic that this situation will reveal character and see who between Rittich and Gillies deserves the back up role and who is capable of stealing the #1 job. I hope Smith stays healthy and whoever backs him up plays well enough that Peter’s and the players have confidence and play their game no matter who is manning the crease.

  • Garry T

    From the moment the season ended, Treiliving has been a busy boy. Some of you need to give this guy some slack. I think he and his crew have done a great job this off season.

    I did not enjoy seeing Hamilton leaving and the return compared to what we paid for him was not exactly to my liking, but internally there may have been issues. I am given to understand he did not complete an exit interview and that was a bad sign if correct.

    What we are all seeming to forget was the cause of so many goals scored against. There is a responsibility factor related to both goal tenders in terms of shots they saw coming and were still unable to stop. Can’t give you a reason for that , but contacts might be the one. They need to completely stop weak goals and if the do not, they should hear about it immediately , no excuses. I think that our goaltenders spend far too much time on their knees and they need to revert back to stand up goal tending.

    We have a completely different look for our forwards now. They can score and they will. I was absolutely sick to death of all of the missed shots, not by an inch but wide or over the top of the net by a lot. I think that is going to change this year so that is the first positive. The second is coaching. Peters has a history of playing a tight defensive style in all three zones and I like the assistants and associates. I think we will be well served by a better penalty kill and a much better power play. The third positive is that with a heavy fore check, turn overs and shorties or opportunistic goals will increase. Furthering the conversation on the fore check, if it is indeed a real focus, we will see an major increase in the lessening of shots on net for our goalies. I think we are going to have a very good season. It may take a week or three for the team to gel but it will and I see success. Treiliving will have to look for a goal tender during the course of this season because I think Smith would like to play on forever, but from a business perspective, I am letting him go at the end of this season. There are signs of wear and tear as well as age and no matter what the friendship factor is between these two men, it is time to let Smith retire. He has lots of bucks or should have so I do not feel sorry for him.

    For those worrying about the cap, with the forward additions made and do not forget about our German friend, I see us having an over-supply of forwards and can see the departure of several fringe guys either prior to the
    end of camp or soon thereafter. Losing two to four guys that are fringe means we are saving 3.5 to 5.0 million.The stressing over the cap issues, goals against, who is going to play where on defense or at forward are not our choices but those of professionals. They know what they have and if there is a point whereby we need to delete or add a D, they will take care of it. If the goal tending becomes an issue, there will be an in season trade.

    There is pressure to win and management knows only to well the results of failure. So here is hoping for a wonderful season! Go Flames!!!!!!

    • oilcanboyd

      With the additions of the new forwards the Flames finally have a better starting lineup but also more depth. Can’t depart all our marginal forwards. By all means put them on waivers and if they don’t get picked up it will be off go Stockton and be available for callup when injury bug hits.

    • SGRietzey

      The only part of this I disagree with is the notion that goalies should return to a stand-up style vs. the current standard of hybrid style. Stand-up (from my POV as a goalie myself, though I’m certainly no pro) is too rigid, predictable and vulnerable for the modern NHL. There’s something to be said for incorporating elements like not going down too early (which could be coached to) and tracking through traffic (of which you need to have a blend of seeing over and under/through), but outside of covering net for high shots, arguably the main advantage stand-up provides is mobility.

      Modern goalies, however, are:
      1) Big enough to offset, at least partially, the coverage advantage that stand-up can provide, especially when challenging. Average goalie height in 2015 was 6’2.” Not to say by any means that smaller goalies can’t still excel, but size is a factor.
      2) Extremely athletic with absurd reflexes, leaving them with more/better options for save selection, rebound control, and arguably even desperation saves (I love seeing highlights of a good ol’ Bill Ranford two-pad stack, the hallmark desperation save of stand-up style, but from a practical standpoint it’s an awful technique that leaves you out of position and is more difficult to recover from)
      3) Typically so good at movement from both a stance/crouch and from their butterfly/knees that they can square up or put themselves back into with ease from anywhere – essentially rendering the net benefit that stand-up provides moot.

      Just my thoughts. Otherwise, agree with pretty much everything you said.

  • KootenayFlamesFan

    I don’t really understand the pessimism going into this season. As bad as we were last year we were right in the mix up until right at the end of the season when all the injuries were revealed.

    If we can shore up the D, gain some chemistry and some luck we are going to be one tough team to beat.

    We’ve yet to see how our goalies perform in front of a decent D, so I’m not overly worried about that.

    To my eyes this team is MUCH better now. I’m EXCITED!!!! GFG!!!!!

  • Lazarus

    Still supporting Gillies. Rittich started out well, spot starts were good and than had his opportunity to run with it..faltered big time.
    Gillies didnt get the same shot and I still think its Gillies when the dust settles here by season’s end

    • KootenayFlamesFan

      You could be right. I’ll support whoever decides to grab the bull by the horns. I just don’t think goaltending will be an issue. Even last year when they were losing, I don’t remember many game when I thought ” Well, the goalie lost that one for us” I mostly remember cursing GG for doing the same stupid things over and over even when they clearly weren’t working and when it was clear the team had packed it in because of it. They may not be elite goaltenders but they definitely were not the problem last year. the entire team was a hot mess.

  • Mickey O'Reaves

    Schedule effects for Rittich played a large factor. No goalie was going to make it through that stretch of games unscathed last season after the starter went down. Especially a rookie who’d had one period of hockey in the NHL prior to last season.

        • Kevin R

          Ok having an debate with someone. If we were to send Brouwer down to minors, would that free up his old salary or does the CBA max the amount of salary you can bury in the AHL?Any experts that know this answer.

          • Baalzamon

            There is a max amount for a buried salary. I think it’s like 1.25 million or something now.

            So 3.25 million of Brouwer’s cap hit would still count, the rest would be relief.

          • oilcanboyd

            From Cap Friendly:
            “What is a Buried Contract?
            Teams do not receive full cap relief when a player on a one-way NHL contract is reassigned to the American Hockey League, or is loaned to a team in another professional league.
            The players salary cap hit, minus the sum of the minimum NHL salary for the respective season and $375,000, still counts towards the team’s salary cap total.
            The cap hit relief is therefore equal to the minimum salary of the respective season + $375,000:

            2014-15: $550,000 + $375,000 = $925,000
            2015-16: $575,000 + $375,000 = $950,000
            2016-17: $575,000 + $375,000 = $950,000
            2017-18: $650,000 + $375,000 = $1,025,000
            2018-19: $650,000 + $375,000 = $1,025,000
            2019-20: $700,000 + $375,000 = $1,075,000
            2020-21: $700,000 + $375,000 = $1,075,000
            2021-22: $750,000 + $375,000 = $1,125,000”

          • KKisTHEproblem

            This has been discussed on the board before but I don’t remember the exact answer. If I recall correctly, there is some relief but I don’t think its full relief

      • Mickey O'Reaves

        BP won’t be pushed around either. I’m sure Smith twisted GG’s arm and convinced him he was good to go a few times. Rebar ain’t playing that game – he’s definitely the boss of this gig.

        That All-Star Game late addition was a disaster too for Smith and the team. Flying to Tampa and back, just for the honour of getting picked, when the dude needed to rest his body and mind and not even think about anything hockey for a while.

    • MDG1600

      Not so sure about that. Rittichs MO in the AHL was lack of consistency. He got the hook as often as he pitched a shutout. The good news is when he was good he was very good so hopefully he can find some consistency.

      • Cfan in Van

        That’s not the impression I got from Stockton’s Finest. I thought that was more like Gilles’ results last season, leaving many there to wonder why he kept getting starts. I could be mis-remembering though.

        • Baalzamon

          Yeah consistency is more Gillies’ problem (much like Ortio in that regard, though not as bad). Well, that and his weak glove side.

          Rittich’s problem is more… fortitude? Until he can handle the pressure of being a starter (which he has yet to do in North America) he won’t really separate himself from Gillies.

          • cberg

            No, not the case. Go look at last year’s results, and Stockton results. Both very similar, with Rittich slightly better. Last year Rittich started strong, then faded, while just the opposite for Gillies.

      • C-of-Dread

        I agree. He does have similarities to Kipper. I doubt he’ll reach the Kipper Air, but he certainly could have it just click for him and then a little run and then confidence and consistency take over to legitimize him. He’s fiercely competitive and puts pressure on himself to perform “for the guys” and accountable to teammates. He seems level headed and doesn’t look like he’s easily flustered by a bad goal against, or even overly frustrated with the team when they hang him out to dry. He has positive body language.

        This is what I think separates him from Gillies, who seems easily flustered, has judgemental body language with shrugging shoulders and head docks when the D misses an assignment, plus those really bad depth perception on long shots. He’s gotten by at previous levels by being a big goalie who defaults to the butterfly and covers a lot of the net. That doesn’t cut it in the NHL.

        Ask yourself: Which of Gillies or Rittich would you more likely see #1 making the Kiprusoff Scorpion save, #2 being athletic and agile enough plus not giving up on the play after the initial save attempt to even attempt that save?

        • Brian McGrattan's Salute

          Beautiful analysis of the two. I definitely agree 100%. My bet is with Rittich. I mean, hopefully Gillies is still going to grow, but from what I saw from the two last season, my money is on Ritty

        • MDG1600

          The confidence Gillies lacks at the NHL level is part of the development process. If he does mature and play more confidently he could take a big step forward. Also, the legion of Rittich supporters are glossing over the fact he finished last year with a string of terrible games in both the NHL and AHL. Not picking Gillies over Rittich here just giving my opinion that I think it is very close choosing between the two and that I don’t think Rittich is as NHL ready as many on this site think. One or both need to improve this year to be of help

  • freethe flames

    I have been away from my computer as the signings have come down so excuse me if what I have to say is either repetitive or out dated. All of the recent signings are prove it to me signings. Both the Gilles and the Janko signings are 2 years and the players are getting a chance to prove their worth two the organization in part because they were higher end draft picks and because the organization still sees some higher end up side in them especially Janko. Kulak and Rittich are on one way prove you are NHL regulars and if they do they will get paid going forward.

    I like the Rittich/Gilles contracts because if one wins the back up job outright and does a good job in that role it is a cheap back up. If who ever wins the job and then struggles the other guys salary is almost the same. The key is to play the back up enough and the back up should start by playing 1 of every 3 games and as the season moves on go to the 4 and 2 split. The organizational depth in net is pretty straight forward: Smith& Rittich/Gilles, Rittich/Gilles& Parsons, Schnieder Macdonald although I think the should sign Faranger to a minor league deal.

    Kulak’s fate is in his hands; if he can prove to be a D who can play up the line up or be an exceptional 3rd pairing guy he gets paid next year. A lot also depends on how quickly Valimaki pushes the pile.

    Janko like the back up goalie position also depends on the player usage. If he gets to play with better players I expect him to excel but if he is pushed down the line up his numbers will be impacted; but again a great deal of this is up to him. He needs to show early.

    Player usage for all these guys will help to set their futures; if they grab the job and play well they will be rewarded. If that happens this team looks really deep; if they don’t grab the brass ring then this team will remain a bubble team.

    BT has given BP more talent and flexibility in the line up than any coach has had in a long time; only time will tell how well he uses it and how well the players respond.

  • freethe flames

    There are lots of people here concerned with goal tending and I get their reasoning. However I do believe that this team will be equipped to deal with goalies not needing to steal as many games. This team is likely to better offensively so some of the one goal loses will likely go our way as well as I think the addition of both Lindholm and Ryan will make the forwards better defensively in large part b/c we will be a better face off team. We will no longer have to put Brouwer out there to take RH faceoffs. Yes we need solid goal tending but does it have to be elite?