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Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Flames have gone through a lot of goaltenders since 2014

Since Miikka Kiprusoff retired in 2013, the Calgary Flames have gone through a lot of goaltenders. This summer has continued a decade-long trend of annually acquiring more and more goalies. The three goalies acquired by general manager Brad Treliving have pushed the tally up to 22 different goalies added to the reserve list since his arrival.

Let’s check out the churn in Calgary’s crease since 2014.

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The original five

Treliving inherited five goalies from interim GM Brian Burke.

  1. Jon Gillies
  2. Joey MacDonald
  3. Joni Ortio
  4. Karri Ramo
  5. Olivier Roy

Ortio was a 2009 draft pick who had shown promise, but hadn’t found consistency. Ramo had been acquired from Montreal while playing in the KHL and lured back by a possible starting job. MacDonald was a waiver claim from Detroit who hadn’t grabbed hold of the starting job. Gillies was a draft pick playing in college that hadn’t signed yet. Roy was a minor-leaguer thrown into the Ladislav Smid trade with Edmonton.

The 22 additions

Since Treliving’s arrival, he’s acquired 22 new goaltenders.

  1. Mason McDonald – 2014 NHL Draft [Jun. 28, 2014]
  2. Jonas Hiller – free agency [Jul. 1, 2014]
  3. Brad Thiessen – free agency [July 3, 2014]
  4. Nick Schneider – free agency [Sept. 23, 2015
  5. Kevin Poulin – trade with Tampa Bay [Nov. 12, 2015; acquired for future considerations]
  6. Niklas Backstrom – trade with Minnesota [Feb. 29, 2016; acquired with sixth round pick for David Jones]
  7. David Rittich – free agency [Jun. 13, 2016]
  8. Brian Elliott – trade with St. Louis [Jun. 24, 2016; acquired for second round pick and conditional third round pick (not executed)]
  9. Tyler Parsons – 2016 NHL Draft [Jun. 25, 2016]
  10. Chad Johnson – free agency [Jul. 1, 2016]
  11. Tom McCollum – free agency [Oct. 15, 2016]
  12. Mike Smith – trade with Arizona [Jun. 17, 2017; acquired (25% salary retained) for Chad Johnson, Brandon Hickey and conditional third round pick]
  13. Eddie Lack – trade with Carolina [Jun. 29, 2017; acquired (50% salary retained) with Ryan Murphy and seventh round pick for Keegan Kanzig and sixth round pick]
  14. Artyom Zagidulin – free agency [Apr. 9, 2019]
  15. Dustin Wolf – 2019 NHL Draft [Jun. 22, 2019]
  16. Cam Talbot – free agency [Jul. 1, 2019]
  17. Daniil Chechelev – 2020 NHL Draft [Oct. 7, 2020]
  18. Jacob Markstrom – free agency [Oct. 9, 2020]
  19. Louis Domingue – free agency [Oct. 10, 2020]
  20. Arseni Sergeyev – 2021 NHL Draft [Jul. 24, 2021]
  21. Daniel Vladar – trade with Boston [Jul. 28, 2021; acquired for third round pick]
  22. Adam Werner – free agency [Jul. 28, 2021]

Aside from a couple seasons of Smith and Rittich, the Flames have changed their goaltending tandem almost every season since Treliving’s arrival.

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The 20 subtractions

Since Treliving’s arrival, he’s parted ways with 20 goaltenders.

  1. Joey MacDonald – free agency [Jul. 1, 2014]
    MacDonald had failed to grab onto the starting job and ended up in the AHL by the end of his tenure.
  2. Olivier Roy – free agency [Jul. 1, 2014]
    Roy was a minor leaguer who wasn’t qualified and became a free agent.
  3. Brad Thiessen – free agency [Jul. 1, 2015]
    Thiessen was signed as minor league depth and moved on as a free agent.
  4. Karri Ramo – free agency [Jul. 1, 2016]
    Ramo had proven good at the NHL, albeit a bit inconsistent and prone to injuries. He walked in free agency as the club tried to upgrade their goaltending.
  5. Jonas Hiller – free agency [Jul. 1, 2016]
    As with Ramo, Hiller was a tad inconsistent. He walked in free agency as the club sought to upgrade their goaltending.
  6. Niklas Backstrom – free agency [Jul. 1, 2016]
    Backstrom was sent to the Flames by the Wild so he could get some games in – he was the third man in Minnesota’s net and never played. He played a handful of games and walked as a free agent, and the Flames used the draft pick from the trade to draft Matthew Phillips.
  7. Kevin Poulin – free agency [Jul. 1, 2016]
    Poulin was acquired from Tampa because they had nowhere in their minor league system for him to play. He walked as a free agent.
  8. Chad Johnson – trade with Arizona [Jun. 17, 2017; traded with Brandon Hickey and conditional third round pick for Mike Smith (25% salary retained)]
    Johnson, a pending free agent, was traded to Arizona as the Flames tried to upgrade their goaltending.
  9. Brian Elliott – free agency [Jul. 1, 2017]
    Elliott was a good goalie but prone to allowing bad goals at bad times. He walked in free agency as the club sought to upgrade their goaltending.
  10. Joni Ortio – free agency [Jul. 1, 2017]
    Ortio was a promsing goaltender, to the point where the Flames put Paul Byron on waivers (and lost him) rather than risk losing Ortio. But Ortio didn’t live up to his promise and wasn’t qualified following the 2016-17, becoming a free agent.
  11. Tom McCollum – trade with Detroit [Jul. 1, 2017; traded for conditional seventh round pick (not converted)]
    The Flames signed McCollum just for expansion purposes. With expansion over, he was traded to Detroit.
  12. Eddie Lack – trade with New Jersey [Dec. 30, 2017; traded for Dalton Prout]
    The Flames acquired Lack to back up Mike Smith. Lack’s performance was lacking and he lost his gig to David Rittich, and was traded to New Jersey to play in their system instead.
  13. Mike Smith – free agency [Jul. 1, 2019]
    Smith was a good performer for the Flames, but walked in free agency as the club sought to upgrade their goaltending.
  14. Mason McDonald – free agency [Jul. 1, 2019]
    McDonald struggled to find a foothold in the AHL during his first few pro seasons and spent most of his time in the ECHL. ECHL goalies tend not to get qualifying offers.
  15. Cam Talbot – free agency [Oct. 9, 2020]
    Talbot was a good performer for the Flames, but walked in free agency as the club sought to upgrade their goaltending.
  16. Jon Gillies – free agency [Oct. 9, 2020]
    Gillies struggled with injuries and consistency in the AHL and eventually walked as a Group 6 free agent.
  17. Nick Schneider – free agency [Oct. 9, 2020]
    Schneider never rose above the level of minor league depth, and wasn’t tendered a qualifying offer.
  18. David Rittich – trade with Toronto [Apr. 11, 2021; traded for third round pick]
    The Flames were destined to miss the playoffs and traded Rittich, a pending UFA, at the trade deadline.
  19. Artyom Zagidulin – free agency [Jul. 28, 2021]
    With Dustin Wolf going pro in 2021, there wasn’t really a spot left for Zagidulin. He wasn’t tendered a qualifying offer.
  20. Louis Domingue – free agency [Jul. 28, 2021]
    Domingue spent the bulk of 2020-21 on the taxi squad, barely playing at all at either the NHL or AHL levels. He went searching for an opportunity to play more games.

The seven that remain

Seven goaltenders remain on Calgary’s reserve list:

  • In the NHL, the tandem looks to be Jacob Markstrom and Daniel Vladar.
  • In the AHL, barring other moves there will be a three-man rotation of Adam Werner, Dustin Wolf and Tyler Parsons.
  • In the USHL, Arsenii Sergeyev will attempt to replicate his USHL success.
  • In Europe, Daniil Chechelev is still without a home for 2021-22, but it seems likely he’ll land somewhere before the season begins.

What do you think of Calgary’s goaltending set-up for 2021-22? Do you think they’ve churned through too many goaltending tandems since Treliving arrived? Or is the churn just part of the usual business of operating a team, in that you need to try out different styles and goalies and see what sticks? Sound off in the comments!