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Flames re-sign RFA Joni Ortio

The Flames' possible future in net is back for another two years.

There's been a Turku-shaped hole in my heart. Hopefully this guy can fix it.
There's been a Turku-shaped hole in my heart. Hopefully this guy can fix it.
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Flames have re-signed their oldest goalie prospect, Joni Ortio, to a two-year deal.

Ortio hails from Turku, Finland, the exact same place as former Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff. Up until last season, he mostly played in Finland, unable to get consistent starts or put up good numbers in the AHL. That all changed this past season when Ortio came over to North America for the final year of his entry level contract.

Once Reto Berra was called up, Ortio became Abbotsford's starter. He did an exceptional job, posting a .926 save percentage for the Heat - second in the AHL - and being named to the AHL's All-Rookie Team.

His performance ignited confidence within the Flames brass, as they traded Berra while Karri Ramo was injured, allowing for Ortio to start nine NHL games. There he posted a .891 save percentage - he was pulled in his ninth start after letting in 4 goals on 13 shots; his save percentage over the full eight games he played was .903 - before being sent back down to finish helping the Heat to the playoffs.

With both Ramo and Jonas Hiller as next season's goalies, Ortio will almost certainly spend his year as Adirondack's starter. There, he'll get much-needed playing time with minor league goalie Brad Thiessen backing him up. Ortio had one great year on North American ice, and now, he needs to repeat it.

This is Ortio's last season in which he is exempt from waivers, meaning he can move between the AHL and NHL without the Flames risking losing him. Come the second year of his contract, that won't be a luxury they have anymore. Ramo's contract is just for one more season, so it's possible this upcoming season is Ortio's last in the minors.