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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Treliving: ‘I would suspect David Rittich would be our starting goalie’

Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving was a guest on Sportsnet 590’s Hockey Central at Noon on Thursday. When asked by host John Shannon who would be his team’s starting goaltender when the 2019-20 season opened, Treliving had a pretty interesting response.

Obviously we’ve got David Rittich that we’ve got to get a contract done with, and we will. And we’re looking right now. That looking is… Mike Smith was here last year, the last two years, pending unrestricted free agent come Monday.

We’re just trying to balance what we think will best support and work with David, quite frankly. We think David’s got the opportunity to continue to grow and be a number-one here. I thought he had a terrific year last year, really his first year of playing the number of games that he played. So we’re going to continue to look and see how best can we round out our goaltending tandem and how does it best support David and work with David.

Once that’s done, I’ll give you a better idea, but I would suspect David Rittich would be our starting goalie.

Rittich, 26, has quietly become arguably the organization’s best goalie developmental success story in decades – Trevor Kidd is probably the last netminder in this conversation. Originally stumbled upon by pro scout Derek MacKinnon while he was scouting Daniel Pribyl, he was signed as minor league depth – a pro veteran who could push the likes of Jon Gillies, Tyler Parsons and Mason McDonald. Instead, he ended up leap-frogging them.

Rittich has progressed from playing the third period of Game 82 in 2016-17 (playing 20 minutes), to taking over the backup gig when Eddie Lack flamed out in 2017-18 (playing 1008 minutes), to supplanting Mike Smith as the team’s de facto starter in 2018-19 until a knee injury slowed him down in the second half (playing 2503 minutes).

Aside from not getting a bit banged up, Rittich has done virtually everything the Flames could have asked of him. Now, barring a massive change of heart from his GM, he’ll start his fourth North American season as the number one goalie for an NHL team.

  • freethe flames

    Then get him signed. Next to Tkachuk he is the most important contract that needs to get done. If you need to make capspace to get it done, do it already.

    • freethe flames

      The Anders Nilsson contract would be a good contract to compare Rittich to. $2.6 x 2/3 years. Find a young back up to push him or to be a 1b. Be it Gilles(who I believe the Flames should move on from both for his own good and the teams), a guy like Jarry, Peterson, Campbell ; you add a name. If you need a vet in the system there will probably be someone around looking for work. We discussed this to death on the Talbot piece yesterday; if he wants to be a project at@$1.5m then that would be okay.

      • Kevin R

        Personally, I think Rittch is the guy we are going to swing at the plate with for 50+% of the games. My bet is they will want him to play 55 games. If we can get him for 3 years at 3.0 mill per, it gives him some security & just focus on being #1. I see Talbot as the perfect backup scenario. 1 year deal, 1.5 -$2.0 mill per. He’s experienced & if Rittch has any injury, he has the ability to log more than 25-30 games in a pinch. That is the safest play Flames can really move forward into the next year. I hear Florida would like to trade Reimer as opposed to buying him out, he would be my second choice but only if they take Stone back & they eat part of that $3.4 mill.
        To me, Reimer or Talbot would be the type of backups we can actually afford if we are committed to Rittch, & something tells me we are. At the games last year, I watched how Tkachuk celebrated with Rittch versus how he celebrated with Smith after a victory. Big difference & you just knew Rittch was an important part of that dressing room. I realize the patience on our goaltending is waning thin but Rittch last year sold me on maybe he was worth being patient for. To me it’s his net for at least 55 games. We need to find an experienced backup for as cost efficient as possible. This time next year, this conversation is going to be different.

        • everton fc

          I think we should pass the crease to Rittich. He should be our #1. I’d go with Reimer, over Talbot – and maybe even Kincaid or McElhinney, over Talbot. If we could somehow pry one of Petersen or Sparks from their respective teams, and send Gillies the other way, I’d go for that. But I also think we give Gillies some rope, and hope he succeeds (obviously).

  • cornwallroyals

    As far as Tkachuk goes, I wonder if a 2-3 year deal @ 6.75M is what were going to end up at. This would help the cap for the short term. At some point we have to expect the internal max contract due to GIO contract is going to have to go out the window otherwise we are not going to be in on any major free agents.

      • Heeeeere’s Johnny

        I think @cornwallroyals is pretty close. On a bridge deal of that length the internal cap still works. A full length deal will need to be 8-9mm.

    • freethe flames

      I suggested something like this a while ago; a 3 year bridge deal at either 6.75 with a big upfront payment to keep the numbers the same as Gio and Johnny or 3x$7.6m which keeps the % the same as when Johnny signed along with a big upfront amount. The other thing that I could see is 5 year deal structured like this, first 3 years in a manner as described above and then the last 2 years somewhere between $8 & $9m with a big upfront payment.

      • Garry T

        Free the Flames …no matter how you scale $10 mil a year, it is still $10 mil being paid out. Soon you have 11 core players looking for the same money. Sorry but he is worth $4.5 mil per for 4 years. In 4 years or less from today the owners will meet, exercise a pay scale program and force GMS into working within those parameters. Otherwise the NHL will not survive.

    • Zeb Zadock

      Sorry but Keith Tkachuk will not watch Paul Marner let his son sign for 11.5 million while his son Matt signs for 6 ?!?!?!?! Lol actually I bet the tkachuks would be offended by that offer.

      • everton fc

        Agree. Keith is the business-side, of Brady and Keith. Both kids will get top dollar, because Keith is their dad.

        Just like William Nylander. It is what it is…

    • Rockmorton65

      I think they give Tkachuk a long term deal. I think the AAV will be higher than the rest of the team, but the actual money will sync up. I could see something like

      6.75 mil for the three years remaining on Gio’s deal and then five years @ 9 mil, for an AAV around 8.1. Byng gets paid without putting any noses out of joint in the locker room. Maybe not those exact numbers, but I wonder if that kind of framework could work.

  • With Respect

    Tkachuk’s contract will handcuff this team for years. Power forwards are great except when they are paid like high end scorers. JG has a great value contract now he has to watch MT get paid more after taking a discount.

  • Garry T

    Signing one player to an $8-10 mil contract leads to everyone asking for relative mega deals ( top six forwards , top 4 D and #1 goalie. Once you get to 4-5 of the deals (Toronto) 50% of your official payroll is out the door.
    Paying Tkachuk the $10 mil he is asking for leads to 4 people making $35-$40 mil and the other 18 or 19 players working for a lot less than they are worth and tons of discontent. We need player improvement in a number of areas. I would not as an owner allow my GM to enter into these types of deals. If Tkachuk is not happy making $4.5 mil for the next 4 years, trade him, eliminate the problem , set a payroll scale that shares the wealth and
    Cherry pick players from teams who over-pay and then need to get out of contracts. We will never win another cup relenting to player / agent demands for huge money. It is time to set the tone for finances. I would hate to lose Mathew, but he cannot win on his own. Some fans will be upset
    But …… the Flames need to look at the big picture.

  • Fat Tony

    This is my first post since the flames were eliminated from the playoffs, for obviously reasons I didn’t feel like chatting hockey much after that, but trade Frolik or Brodie or whatever needs to be done to clear space and get these guys signed. This just needs to happen to put my mind at ease.

    • The GREAT WW

      Welcome back Tony; you haven’t missed much:
      The Oilers still suck…..
      The Flames are still the powerhouse of the West……
      And inbred degenerate imposters are still spewing their drivel wishing they were GREAT……

      Business as usual!

      WW

    • Off the wall

      We hear ya Tony!
      I haven’t been myself since the quick playoff exit. Some of our members reminded me that I need to be patient and stop overreacting.

      They are right! I’ve been a Flames fan since their inception, and will always be. We have some great core players, and perhaps it’s time to more supportive than complain about the past. It doesn’t make it easier, but it makes it more tolerable in the long run.

      I hope Rittich gets signed soon. I love his character and work ethic. If he’s the number 1, then I hope he makes us proud!

  • drogon

    So it will be Rittich-Talbot. That’s great for Rittich, popular in the room, hard worker at practice. Talbot is a cheap solution in our tight cap space. Tkachuk is not to blame, the RFA market is. I doubt that situation is viable long term for the NHL… 23 mouth to feed…

    • Kevin R

      Thats why I dont get too head up on goofy rumours like Maroon. Flames cant afford to sign any UFA unless its like the one for a cheap Talbot. We need to deal with our RFA’s first & then if we have any room on our credit card, shop for bargains at the liquidation depots. I think there will be several teams in the same boat the Free Agency Frenzy panel are going to be pretty bored.

    • KootenayFlamesFan

      I’d take an ignore button over an edit button!

      The baseless and irrelevant trash this tool continues to spout just clutters up the board and is not worth anything to anyone!

      • Raffydog

        How is that baseless and irrelevant? Am I not allowed to have an opinion if it differs from yours? We should all just be mindless sheep that tow the line? Sorry mein fuhrer, but I dont believe Rittich is a nhl number one goalie, and if the Flames go with him as the starter, I believe it will be disastrous. Please dont throw me in the gas chamber cause I have a different opinion than you.

        • freethe flames

          Raffy; please don’t over react like this; it’s very unbecoming. Rittich might not prove to be an NHL starter but last year his play suggested that he has won a chance to prove himself; if he fails you can always gloat. If he succeeds then you might have to eat crow but if you are as you say a Flames fan you can celebrate with the rest of us. If you are a troll and only you know this for sure you can keep on trolling.

        • KootenayFlamesFan

          Claiming that management has given up winning a cup because BSD is the very definition of baseless and irrelevant. You don’t know what they’re thinking and you also don’t speak for them.

    • The Red Knight

      I agree it’s ridiculous to give Rittich a starter position or salary,he was barely a decent backup last year and was not good enough to play a playoff game , Smith stood on his head ,every one says smith sucks and Rittich was great but Rittich got worse and worse as the season went on and never once did I think he looked like a legit starter .

  • KootenayFlamesFan

    Talbot has shown that he can be a number 1. If the money is right he’s a great signing. You can always put him on waivers if he doesn’t work out…

  • The Red Knight

    Oh so Rittich gets a pass for being injured but not smith ? What a joke , better give Rittich 4mill and 5 years I mean he’s sure earned it ,lol I’m telling you Rittich is gonna get lit up he’s not a starter!!!!!