Through the first 33 games of their schedule, the Calgary Flames have rediscovered a simple fact: David Rittich is a really good goaltender. He’s also been the National Hockey League’s busiest. But with the Flames on a roll and climbing in the standings, how can they maximize their on-ice results while keeping Rittich fresh for the back half of the season?
For this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday, we ask you to map out the goalie starts for the remainder of the month.
Through 33 games, Rittich has started 25 games (tied for first) and played 1509 minutes (first in the NHL). But four games into December, interim head coach Geoff Ward has done something interesting – alternating goalies. Rittich and Cam Talbot have each started twice (and won twice).
There are nine games remaining in the month of December:
- Thursday vs. Toronto
- Saturday vs. Carolina
- Tuesday vs. Pittsburgh
- Next Thursday vs. Montreal
- Dec. 22 at Dallas
- Dec. 23 at Minnesota
- Dec. 27 at Edmonton
- Dec. 29 vs. Vancouver
- Dec. 31 vs. Chicago
So there’s one back-to-back set in Dallas and Minnesota (with travel), so that’ll be split up.
Beyond that? Thursday night against Toronto screams “Rittich start,” with Carolina being an early Saturday afternoon game making it a pretty good candidate for Talbot. Every other game could reasonably be Rittich’s, though Chicago is a lowly enough opponent that it would be a smart Talbot outing as well.
Of the nine remaining games this month, that’s three pretty obvious Talbot games. Would giving Rittich the other six be too many? Is there another game that would make sense to give Talbot, or would letting Rittich play a few games in a row allow him to get some momentum?
What would you do? How would you map out December’s remaining games? Sound off in the comments!