Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

There aren’t many goalies like David Rittich

With the departure of Mike Smith, it seems pretty evident that Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich will begin the upcoming season as the de facto starter. At the very least, he’ll be the 1A. But as the Flames and Rittich’s representatives hash out a new deal for the restricted free agent, a look at recent contracts signed by goaltenders point towards an interesting realization: contractually, there aren’t many goalies like Rittich out there.

Rittich is 26 years old. He has three seasons of North American hockey under his belt: one in an AHL tandem, one where he worked as an NHL backup, and one where he played just over half of an NHL season. He’s signed three consecutive one year contracts. He’s a year away from unrestricted free agency and he’s made 67 appearances in an NHL crease.

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We’ll get into specific types of comparable statistics (and players) that can be used in arbitration closer to the hearing date, but here’s an interesting comparable: 27 different 26-year-old goaltenders have signed contracts since the end of the 2015-16 season. One of them was Freddie Andersen’s lengthy extension. A very large number of them were short-term deals for career minor leaguers or tweener depth goalies.

But we found five recently-signed goaltenders that are the closest to Rittich in terms of age and experience. (Stats via NHL.com.)

Player GP Starts Sv% AAV Date
David Rittich 67 58 .909 TBD TBD
Laurent Brossoit 49 39 .911 $1.250m (1yr) May 29/19
Darcy Kuemper 84 72 .912 $1.550m (1yr) July 5/16
Philipp Grubauer 99 78 .923 $3.333m (3yr) Jun. 23/18
Louis Domingue 96 82 .907 $1.150m (2yr) Jun. 22/18
Jacob Markstrom 101 90 .904 $3.667m (3yr) July 7/16

As you can see, everyone but Brossoit has more experience than Rittich. Of these players, you could argue that Markstrom and Grubauer are the “best” comparisons in the sense that both guys were penciled in to be starters for their respective clubs, but both of them were more established NHL players so shelling out north of $3 million per year wasn’t necessarily as risky.

If I’m Rittich’s agent, my thought process is to start with a discussion of a three year deal for around $3 million per season and then maybe settle for something closer to what Cam Talbot got from the Flames. The Flames don’t really have anybody in their system that’s as good as Rittich, so they don’t have a ton of leverage. But based on how weird the closest comparables are – none of them are amazing close – it’s hard to argue that Rittich has a ton of leverage either.

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    • BendingCorners

      We could play “Let’s Make a Trade”…. Hanifin and Neal to Ottawa for Borowiecki and a 2nd. Leaves Valimaki and Kylington as regulars on LD, let’s Stone be waived to Stockton. Net cap space is 10.6; sign Ferland and hang on to the rest of it so all the RFA fit easily. Then look at trading Frolik for picks and keep Brodie till the TDL, or keep them both till then.
      Ottawa does it because Hanifin is good and Neal is better than Bobby Ryan. Calgary does it for the cap space and because Hanifin is disposable.

  • freethe flames

    I would think based upon these numbers his agent is thinking Grubauer but I also think his agent will be using the Koskinen numbers of an unproven goaltender getting a big contract 3x$4.5m and this is the most recent number used for an unproven starter. This number is the one that scares me. If we can get Rittich @3x$3m I would be happy. This is the one I want done before it goes to arbitration.
    Personally I think that Bennett’s arbitration would favor the Flames; comparing his numbers to Connolly(yes a UFA), Kapenenan and Johnsson both RFA’s his numbers pale in comparison; all three of these guys points totals are in the mid 40’s and they got 3/4 year deals in the mid $3.5m range by comparison Bennett’s best year was 36 and the last 2 years were 26 and 27 I think; that should keep his salary around the @$2.5m.

    If we get Bennett and Rittich @$6m combined that would be a good thing. BT still needs to move salary but it can be done.

    • wot96

      Hopefully the uncertainty on both sides will drive the parties together to reach something reasonable before the bitterness of things said in an arbitration have to be said.

    • RealMcHockeyReturns

      Hoping Rittich at 2.25M given he has far less experience than Talbot at 2.75M and still needs to prove himself. Bennett probably not warranting any raise but likely gets 2.5M.

    • Kevin R

      I think the Flames would counter back with Mrazek of 2 years @ 3.25mill & McCellhinney 2 years at 1.35per. for the arbitrator to compare to.I would like to see Flames get BSD to a 3 year deal @ $2.75 per. That would be a good deal for both sides I think.

      Bennett is going to be interesting. I have no problem going up to the mid 3.0’s if we can get a 4-5 year deal. Tanev’s deal with the Pens may be one Bennett’s side come up with. Either way, he will have a hard time cracking the 4.0 per range.

  • Luter 1

    If anybody on this team is going to rebound (in this case from injury) it’s going to be Rittich. I worry more about that and having good goaltending than the 5% chance Neal hot-tubbed in the fountain of youth all summer.

  • Craftmatic4.0

    My buddies a ripping me for this signing, but I like it! Talbot behind a quality defence will probably a decent thing! Can’t wait to see how it turns out 🙂

  • Abagofpucks

    No matter what BT does he has to move out salary before he can sign benny, Bsd, and Turtles. And he’s not dealing from strength either, he’s been trying to move Tj but nobody’s biting on him and of course Frolik is a guy other teams really don’t want on a 4+ mil contract at his age. so It’s going to get dicey.

    • LannyMac

      110% bag o would not be surprised if Tre has to send 2nd or maybe 3rd with TJ. Would get it done but the public outcry would be huge. Forget Fro not even vegabond GMs sniffing around that. Send picks or eat half of TJs salary and buy out Stone May get RFAs done this summer

    • Kevin R

      Huh?? We can go up to $89.0 mill if we want, lots of time to get compliant & lots of time to trade or buyout Stone. Frolik or Brodie will not require incentives to trade. Brodie would be top 3 in Edmonton & Frolik would be top 6 there too. The only dicey will be if you’re at the crap table down at the Stampede.

  • First Name Unidentified

    Had a blast hanging with Chucky yesterday afternoon at the Cactus Club. He says he’s playing nice with Tre and should have something done in the next few days.
    He was told not to drag this until the training camp.

    • Baalzamon

      He was told not to drag this until the training camp.

      One would think Treliving had a tough RFA negotiation with a top player that dragged into training camp and almost the start of the season or something.

  • Off the wall

    I need some assistance.
    Otw, had to replace the kitchen sink faucet last night, cuz the handle and assembly broke on the old one.

    I texted my Landlord, he was away, so Otw had to go to out and buy one, remove the old one,
    ( I had to cut the fastening nut out cuz it was rusted so badly) and install the new one. It took me two hours and some scraped fingers. I’m not a plumber obviously.

    My Landlord says he’ll compensate me for my time. Whatever that means..

    I’m filing for arbitration, cuz I usually get taken to the cleaners.

    What do you think is reasonable considering the Tenant had to do the work? It’s a slow day, so I figured you’d like to help Otw out!

    • Chucky

      Just had both an electrician and HVAC journeyman to finish up a heat pump that I had DIY installed. They charged me $85 an hour and both needed to get some supplies so were away at a suppliers and charged for that time. Reasonable estimate would be 2 hours installation 1 hour sourcing the material. Charge time at $70 (below journeyman but senior apprentice who works on their own) Total $210 plus supplies.

        • Off the wall

          Good point Wot96!
          I’m liking this Arbitration stuff..

          Should I push for a free month of rent? I swore at least 40 times! My step son came out of his room and asked if I was ok. I hate myself for swearing, but I was really frustrated.
          Pain and suffering, is that arbitrateable? I think I just made up that word?

          • BendingCorners

            Arbitrable, yes, if the BC CRT allows it (they have a web site). Fee for filing is $125 though, so best to just cut a deal. Ask for $200 plus parts, settle for $100 plus parts. Since he lives upstairs, you could always smoke him out if he balks.

          • Off the wall

            Great estimates FN!
            Are you a lawyer Bending Corners? If not, you could always take the Bar Exam. I’m sure you’d Ace it.

            I live upstairs, so smoking him out might be difficult. I could always fart into the ducts. I’m having Burritos for lunch.
            I’m not a lawyer, so that’s my best option..

          • Derian Hatcher

            Hopefully your landlord is Peter Chiarelli. Offer him free sink repairs for life for the entire house and land. I guarantee he ll take it and even throw in a car for you.

    • LannyMac

      OTW you have pretty good takes start your own site. the revenue generated from that buy your own (rather let the bank buy and you get to stay in it) property and higher a plumber (make more than the average professional) then your water issues are solved.