In the history of the Flames franchise, 606 players have tugged a red sweater over their heads and suited up for a regular season game. Of those, 22 played just a single game for either the Calgary or Atlanta Flames. We call them One Game Wonders.
Let’s talk about our final One Game Wonder, Matt Keetley.
Born and raised in Medicine Hat, Keetley was a Tiger through and through. He played his minor hockey with their affiliates up through midget and bantam, and after being listed by the WHL club he spent three seasons with them. His time with the WHL Tigers was fruitful, as he won two WHL Championships and made two Memorial Cup appearances (once as a starter, once as a backup) and earned selection by the Flames in the fifth round of the 2005 NHL Draft.
Going pro in 2007, he made a great first impression in Quad City with a 2.33 goals against average and .912 save percentage. He impressed enough to earn a brief call-up when backup Curtis McElhinney got hurt in late October. He dressed for 11 games as Miikka Kiprusoff’s backup, playing just nine minutes of perfect relief on Nov. 5, 2007 in a 4-1 loss to Colorado. McElhinney returned in late November and Keetley went back to the farm.
Hopes were high for Keetley, but development often isn’t linear. He back-slid in 2008-09, posting an .892 save percentage and spending a good chunk of the season in the ECHL. He reclaimed the AHL net in 2009-10, but inconsistency hurt him in 2010-11 (he played in just nine AHL games) and the Flames cut ties by not qualifying him following the season.
He sputtered out after that, playing a year with the ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors and another with the senior league Carlyle Cougars before hanging up his pads in 2013.
Keetley’s a bit of a cautionary tale. He was an awesome WHL goalie. He had a great first pro season and seemed ready to take a step the following season. And then, he didn’t, as his development hit a plateau and he couldn’t break through. Oddly, the goalie that out-did him in Quad City the year his numbers took a big dip – fellow WHLer Leland Irving – saw a similar crash after a couple good seasons. Despite this both of these goalies played more games with the Flames than Brent Krahn did, so it’s not all bad.