Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

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

There’s a bit of clarity regarding Mike Smith’s injury status, and what we know right now is he likely won’t play this weekend.

The Calgary Flames have summoned goaltender Jon Gillies from the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat. In a corresponding move, they’ve assigned forward Ryan Lomberg to the AHL.

Smith left the Flames’ 6-5 overtime win on Wednesday night after the second period, and head coach Bill Peters confirmed that Smith was “not right” in net. Smith’s dealt with lower body (soft tissue) injuries in each of the past three seasons, including missing a month last season that completely derailed the Flames’ playoff push. It’s unclear whether his current injury continues that trend. In his absence, the net belongs to “Big Save Dave” – David Rittich.

Gillies was once the Flames’ top goaltending prospect, but he’s struggled at times in the AHL with both health and performance. This season he’s missed time due to injury and been shelled in several games. He’s 5-8-1 with a 3.96 goals against average and 0.861 save percentage this season, but as the only AHL goaltender in the system with any NHL experience he’s the logical person to call up to back Rittich up.

The moves leave the Flames with 22 players on their active roster: three goaltenders, seven defensemen and 12 forwards. Four players remain on the injured reserve list as well.

    • mrroonie

      There was a really good one available at the 2012 draft who had shone at the WJC earlier that season but old Uncle Fester thought it was better to trade down in the draft and pick a soft center who 6+ years post-draft has 35 points in 102 games played. That prospect’s name was Andrei Vasilevskiy.

      • Bean-counting cowboy

        Goalies are voodoo. Can’t fault the team as much on goalie drafting. The bigger grievance was that we ended up with Tyler Wotherspoon and Hunter Smith instead of Kucherov and Brayden Point (both of whom I was personally gunning for during those drafts… both of whom are at the top of the league in scoring). Can you imagine having those two guys added to our current mix? We likely wouldn’t have signed Brouwer or Neal, but alternatively may not have Tkachuck… who ultimately knows what the alternate universe would look like.

        • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

          “The bigger grievance was that we ended up with Tyler Wotherspoon and Hunter Smith instead of Kucherov and Brayden Point (both of whom I was personally gunning for during those drafts…”

          The brutal thing is Feaster has said he wanted to take Kucherov (that’s why his old team in TB, that he later went back to advising took him), but I believe ownership was going on about some nonsense of not drafting Russians at that point, that is all speculative though, but Fraser did say they thought about Kucherov. You never know though, if he doesn’t end up playing with Stamkos does he become the same star? Yakupov was a stud in Sarnia and then Edmoton ruined him. You never know how much is player development /opportunity.

          Point hurts true most though. He was a no brainer at that point in the second round and being a home town kid who had just put up a 35+ NHLe.

          Thank you Burke and your “truculence” movement. Treliving is doing a better job lately, so I can’t complain much.

    • MDG1600

      How much time do you have to read through a lengthy dissertation on how the Flames might be the worst organization in the NHL at identifying and developing goalie prospects? And that’s after they get full marks for finding and developing Rittich.

  • Alan Trammel

    Gillies with an .861 in the freakin AHL does not deserve to be called up to the NHL
    I sure wish we had more goalie depth.
    Back to back this weekend? So he probably gets a game :/

      • Sea of Redd

        Have you looked at the D core in Stockton? With the call-ups, doesn’t leave much. Can’t blame everything on the goalie. From what I’ve seen (mostly just watch the game highlights for Stockton), he hasn’t let in any soft ones like Smith seems to do most nights.

        • Cfan in Van

          Valid point indeed. I’d still rather see BSD, but I guess if they think he’ll need to carry the torch for a bit, it wouldn’t be the end of the world to give Gilles St.Lou.

        • MiamiRedhawks

          Not impressive to watch live. Way too slow to get up. SF has a great insight on the prospects, esp Gillies since he has been around for a little while.

        • Porcupine at a balloon party

          Totally agree Sea of Redd. It’s really hard to put any read on what progress the goalies there have made. The team in Stockton has been stripped of all it’s best players (mainly due to graduation). Not to mention a rookie head coach. Maybe Gilles struggles are a consequence (and props) to Huska being promoted (along with Anderson, kylington) and plenty of others probably initially slated to play there are not, such as valamaki, Dube, not signing Wotherspoon etc… Lost goes on.

          Flames gain has been Stockton’s loss. So it’s really hard to gauge anything going on down there. Would be interested to see what people think of Gilles during flames practice… Does he at least look in place or does he struggle there?

        • Stockton's Finest

          @ Sea of Redd…. yes, the defense down here is not the best, but Gillies has let in some soft goals. But my biggest issue with Gillies is rebound control. He gave up 2 goals in each of the 2 games last weekend. On Friday, he let in a soft goal, which cost the Heat a point. On Saturday, both goals against were a direct result of him kicking a rebound in front of him and into the waiting stick of a Moose player who deposited the puck into an open cage. If he kicks it to the side boards or, better yet, eat a the biscuit, he pitches a shutout.

    • Albertabeef

      I guess you just didn’t look too hard for positives. He has only allowed 8 goals in the last 4.5 games played. Save percentages last 5 games are .941, .833, 1.000, .875, .931. All in all not too bad.

  • Fat Tony

    Just looked at the top trade bait article on TSN’s page, there are some interesting names thrown out there. Other than defense and goal tending (I know goal tending is the biggest issue but everyone on the list is to expensive or too old) there are a couple of guys that I can picture in our lineup. This is of course given that aren’t too pricey. Is Wayne Simmonds worth a gamble? he does everything Frolik does and then some. Or maybe a guy like Nino Niederreiter? A lot like Frolik as well but younger and under contract for 3 more years. By the way I think it goes without saying that a better version of Frolik would be a great fit for the team to push Hath to the press box. Any thoughts?

      • buts

        I agree Minnesota has a real good one in the ahl. I’m sure tampa has some good ones. We can’t rely on Gillies who is just not good enough, goes down early, stays deep in his net and doesn’t track the puck. The smallest 6’6″ goalie I’ve ever seen.

    • Baalzamon

      Is Wayne Simmonds worth a gamble? he does everything Frolik does and then some.

      No. People need to get it through their heads that this isn’t the Wayne Simmonds of three years ago. He’s a ghost of his former self.

      • freethe flames

        I agree after watching him take stupid penalties the other day against the Flames he was not very noticeable. We play Minny tomorrow and the word is that both Nied and Coyle might be available; would either of these two guys be a fit here?

      • Fat Tony

        An this is why I asked if anyone had any thoughts. I have not been paying attention to Simmonds play over the last while so I was unsure but I do think there is an upgrade to our bottom 6 out there somewhere.

  • freethe flames

    Take a breath everybody; it’s easy to be down on Gilles but he is the best we have. Parsons has not seen any game action for in what seems like for ever. Scheinder and MacDonald are not as good a Gilles. I actually thought that his last couple of starts at the end of last year he looked sound. If Smith’s injury looks longer term then BT needs to look for a veteran presence but right now it’s BSD chance to show what he has. Other teams have survived with less. Time for all the players to buy in on the defensive side.

  • ComeOn

    They way Smith is forced to lunge at saves to make them I’m convinced he has a lower body problem that may not be resolvable without surgery or a lot of time. I’m betting they trade for a good AHL goalie as insurance for the rest of the season and what may lie beyond…

  • LannyMac

    I am absolutely convinced that Bennett is not going to develop into anything more than a third or fourth line plug. Well done Tree you have done some good things for this franchise and with out a doubt you have sh!t the bed on some others. At the top of that list is Bennett. If that kid had progressed anything close to Tkachuk or Monahan this team would be a contender. Time to cut bait. I would take Coyle or Simmonds over Bennett right now.

    • The GREAT WW

      Ah yes; the 2014 draft….

      Is FN finally willing to admit that WW was right 4.5 years ago when I said we should have taken Demko over MacDonald……or is it still too early to tell?


    • Bean-counting cowboy

      I get annoyed with comments like this. Why don’t you take a minute and think things through? Call this 20/20 hindsight or revisionist history bias but you couldn’t be more wrong about this being Tre’s fault at that draft. Not only was Tre brand new on the job… Bennett was Central Scouting’s #1 rated prospect and the entire fan based was ECSTATIC to get him at that time in that spot. Would you rather he took Dal Cole. Can you honestly tell me you would have picked someone else in that spot on that day. If the answer is yes… you are a liar. If you would rather have say… Chiarelli as a GM than Tre, maybe you should become a fan of the Oilers because from where I sit, this team, this organization is further ahead than it has been in years and Treliving is a big part of that.

      Don’t make comments just for the sole purpose of “angry noise”

      • Flames fan since 83

        Every employed GM would have taken Bennett with that #4 pick.
        I try not to let it bother me, but I have to admit that I get annoyed at these posters that continually remind everyone how smart they are. Maybe it’s because everywhere you turn there is someone on the news also telling us how smart he is.
        Can we all agree that: Self Love = Idiot Troll

        • The Doctor

          FF 83, so true. Every expert and pundit thought at the time that we’d done extremely well to get Bennett at that spot. The 20/20 hindsight stuff that goes on just kills me. I guess I should have known to invest in Apple’s IPO .

      • LannyMac

        Their the Flames faithful go again comparing themselves to the Oilers again yes that means you are better than 31 worst run organization in the league. That potentially leaves you slotted in 30th congratulations. I’m not saying the flames are the 30th worst run organization in the league but common people stop comparing yourselves to that tire fire it proves absolutely nothing. Yes it is Tre’s fault that kid should have been sent down before the end of his ELC because his confidence and production was mill by that time. Poor Mgmt

      • LannyMac

        McDonald never had to play for an organization that has been as poorly run as it has since Fletcher left. Not sure he would be interested in representing such a joke of an organization if he would have played for them post 1990. I’m guessing a class act like Lanny would have anything to do with the Flames in his retirement.

        • Albertabeef

          Lanny played for the inept Leafs(no cups in 50 years) and Colorado Rockies(so bad they were forced to move to New Jersey) franchise before the Flames. You sir are pretty clueless.

    • canadian1967

      Bennett was the right choice. Where they went wrong was Burning his first year instead of leaving him in Jr for Draft+1 and +2, and then playing in the AHL for 1/2 a season.

      Not everyone is Monahan or Tkachuk and able to just bring it.

      Benny would now be in his 2nd full season and ready to roll. IMHO

      • Albertabeef

        Ok so lately I’ve tried to support and defend Benny, however I really was really really mad when we drafted him. I even posted on here “No we got the wrong Sam!” But honestly he was as you said “the right choice” given knowledge at the time. I kind of think 2014 may have been a weak draft overall, or at least weaker at the top than other seasons were.

        • Vertigo

          it wasn’t a great draft but why did the Oilers have to pick that year to draft correctly. Can you imagine where we would be adding the German to our line-up if Shelbyville had grabbed Bennett instead of LD?

  • Vernon30

    Rittich is young and hasn’t played too much this year to wear him down. Play him both games of the back to back. Don’t use Gilles unless necessary. Parsons would be preferable to Gilles, if not hurt.

  • Off the wall

    Pandemonium over Gillies called up? What were we expecting?
    FN sometimes cracks me up.

    So Gillies gets a start. Let’s give him a bit of support ( no Bronx jeers) and welcome him. That might be nice!

    And if he wins the game? You might wanna check your comments at the gate before boarding the castigation plane..

    • Cfan in Van

      We’re not allowed to voice a lack of confidence in Gilles? Of course we’d all cheer him on if he wins, and I truly hope nobody Bronx cheers in game action (I hate that regardless of player or performance), but there’s nothing wrong with voicing preferences. Mr.Neal-comment-pretty-much-every-day…;) For the record, I wouldn’t dump on the guy if they lose with him in net, it’s the scenario I don’t like, not the guy himself.

      • Off the wall

        Sorry, It wasn’t directed at you Cfan. I always appreciate your insights here. You don’t spout inane thoughts.

        Just a general comment at the slag Gillies is getting, even though he hasn’t geared up once for the Flames this season.

        The concerns are warranted. It’s not a perfect scenario, however it’s the only one we have right now.

        You’re still coming to the game on February 9th? I don’t want to scare you away. I’m much friendlier in person..?

        • Cfan in Van

          Confirming tickets on Sunday. I don’t usually spend on NHL tickets (rent alone is a crippler out here), but it’s the weekend after my Bday. Trying for 13 rows up near just before the corner. Also, hitting up the Devils Elbow with Mrs.Cfan tonight before a show. Can confirm it’s good.

  • Suck It Steinberg!

    I’m excited to see Gillies recalled. I am a huge believer in this kid, and this may be his make it or break it moment with the Calgary Flames. Mike Smith has been like Russian roulette his whole tenure with the Flames. He is either lights out, or well, what we have witnessed more of this year. Gillies has an opportunity to step in as a back up and possibly put some confidence in the coaching and management staff about himself. I hope Smith is kept out till after the holidays, let Gillies get a feel for the back up role, and let’s see if BSD is the real deal or not. This is a blessing in disguise, if neither are capable, well then Tre knows he needs to make a splash, or if alm works out, maybe it’s time to reassign Smith.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I must be missing the strategy behind the line up against Minny. I think it is going to be a dirty game because that is Boudreau’s MO. Why would we send Lomberg back to Stockton and not dress him for this game? This would be one of the few games that I would put him in before Czarnik. Just curious to know who is policing our elite players….Hathaway?

  • buts

    Gillies is here by default, because there’s no one else. Plain and simple he has played well enough to earn the right to play in the nhl despite numerous golden opportunities. If god forbid Rittich went down or struggles we are definitely screwed and that is completely on Brad Trelivings shoulders. Again I said in may that goaltending was our #1 area to strengthen and BT did squat.

    • L.Kolkind

      I think we all used to think Gilles would end up playing almost as good as Gibson is now. Gilles absolutely owned the NCAA is one of the best goalies they had in the league every year with a 930-ish save percentage every year. I’m not sure exactly what is wrong with Gilles now and I think it’s mainly mental as he seems to move well enough, just not reading the shots at the level he needs to be. Parsons had one bad year as a pro and I highly recommend reading the piece the Athletic did with him. He talked about how his mental health was really poor and giving up on him when he is so young makes no sense. Mason was a poor pick reminds me of Fucale rated super high for no reason, we all knew Demko was the best goalie of the draft that year, but you can’t go back in time to change it. Schneider is a fine ECHL goalie… I still think giving Gilles and Parson another year in the AHL wasn’t a bad decision.

      His poor decision with goaltending was first Elliot and now Smith. Smith was a very bad trade as he was only good for one year, about 6 years ago he is way older now injury prone and his cap hit is way too high for the level of goaltending provided. Getting rid of Smith and replacing him with a goalie like McBackup who was easily available would have given the Flames a decent 1a 1b tandem.

      • Cfan in Van

        The Parsons article in the Athletic was really good! To all those who don’t subscribe, they made that available to everyone because it has to do with mental health (stick-tap, Athletic). Give it a read.

        I agree with everything you said, except Elliot. I think he was worth the gamble at the time based on his history, but nobody will argue that he didn’t work out.

  • L.Kolkind

    I suggested trading for Bernier to backup Rittich earlier and I think we might need to. Smith only had a few good games this year before injury and I doubt when he returns he will be playing anywhere near good enough for the Flames to rely on him for a playoff run. Having some veteran backup insurance that is better than Smith could be necessary come playoffs.

  • Off the wall

    Let’s support our Flames for the All Star game.
    Cast your votes. 10 votes permitted daily.
    Monahan deserves to be there this year. 20 goals already!

    Am I right Thunder?!

  • meat1

    Boy do we ever have to hope Rittich doesn’t get hurt. If we think our overall goaltending is shaky now…what about a trade at the deadline for Craig Anderson? I realize he’s no long term solution but I think he would fit in here for what I am thinking might be our first really legit run at the Cup in years.