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2014-15 report cards: Karri Ramo's season

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We conclude a month of report cards with pending UFA goaltender Karri Ramo, and what the Flames should do moving forward.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It was a chaotic season for Karri Ramo. After being the only capable goaltender on the Flames during the dismal 2013-14 season, Ramo found himself in a nearly year-long battle for the number one spot with Jonas Hiller. Injuries and inconsistency nagged him throughout the year, but there were definitely times where he was absolutely outstanding, transforming into brick wall à la Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey for Nintendo 64.

For example, he once did this:

And he also did this:

And he did this as well:

And who could forget?

But then, he does things like this:

And things just like that:

It's easy to see why Ramo is a divisive goalkeeper. He can be absolutely amazing and terrible in consecutive starts, and neither is very surprising. What did M&G think of him this year?

arii (B):

Karri Ramo was leaps and bounds better than his first season back in the NHL. While he showed signs of improving at the end of the previous season, the signing of Jonas Hiller threw a wrench into his starter’s potential, and he had to claw his way back into the role. This included one particularly ridiculous shutout streak, and it was very sad when it ended.

Ramo was the last goalie to make a start for the Flames this season, and it’s uncertain if he’ll be back. It also remains a wonder if he truly can be a starter; while he played a substantial amount of games, 32 starts is not how many a league starter really gets. And while Ramo had the highest highs of Flames goaltenders this past season, he had the lowest lows as well. He could be either lights out or horrific; he could sometimes make that desperation save after putting himself wildly out of position first. There’s still inconsistencies to be found in his game, but having a reliable backup was important to Calgary’s success this season, and he filled that role.

Mike FAIL (B-):

Lots of folks love Ramo for his heart palpitation-inducing heroics at times. At times it’s almost like the spectre of Kipper’s chain-smoking soul possesses him. Other times, I’m cringing because positioning and over-compensation is a concern. Echoing the sentiments of Ari, I agree he showed some improvement from last season.

I feel like there were sections of games where Ramo played well, though the team in front of him was awful and didn’t help him. There were also games with goals that sucked, like Hiller had, that made you question him. He looks like Sideshow Bob also, but I’m still uncertain of what he is: a backup or a marginal starter. The good news is he isn’t Ben Scrivens level terrible.

HockeyGoalieEh (C+):

Anybody rating Ramo on flair would give him an A+. Anybody rating Ramo on his positioning would give him something considerably worse. Ultimately Karri Ramo showed some improvement and his performance at even strength was just a smidgeon above the league average. He would make a poor starter, but he’s very serviceable as a backup. That said, Ortio can be claimed off of waivers next year so the only reasons for the the Flames to maintain Ramo would be if the Flames were to move Ortio with the thought that his perceived value was higher than his actual value (highly unlikely), if they felt that he was a better option in net than Jonas Hiller (both highly unlikely and factually inaccurate), or if they get a nice offer for Jonas Hiller which positions them better for the future and use Ramo as a stopgap (highly unlikely), so this is likely goodbye for Ramo.

saltysyd (B+):

Brilliant at times, and average-at-best at others. When Ramo was on, he was better than Hiller, but those games didn’t come as often as Hiller’s. And his lows were lower. Ramo provides great entertainment and heart-stopping saves, but the necessity for these is a result of his own positioning - think about it, if he stayed in position, he wouldn’t have to dive across the crease to make a desperation save (no denying it’s fun to watch though). He’s not steady enough to be a starter just yet, which is why it makes more sense to keep Hiller around (especially since he is already on contract). Joni Ortio is coming next year and needs a solid starter to mentor him. There will always be a spot in my heart (right where the hole from watching his desperation saves is) for Ramo though - who doesn’t love an entertaining goalie?

ctibs (B):

Karri Ramo fought hard this season to prove why he should get another contract, and he provides a compelling case. While he does have those games where he allows three goals in the first period, he is the master of the hot streak, playing lights-out for five or six games. That’s pretty good for a goalie in a rotational system. If he is back, all I can ask is that someone ties a leash to him and the net so that he never strays more than three feet away from it.

LiamPMcCausland (B):

Steady and solid, with the occasional moment of mental flatulence. He has done all that has been asked of him, and he earned wins on his own on several occasions. I know I wrote the same for Hiller but for me, there’s not much difference between the two. Both are playable on their good days, and excruciating on their off days.

cofstats (A-):

Karri Ramo displayed flashes of brilliance, and like his counterpart Hiller, he kept the Flames in games they had no business being in with high quality saves. Ramo has proven himself to be more than capable as a ‘1B’ backup, though it remains to be seen if he can provide consistent, quality goaltending in a starting role. Ramo is obviously wanting to take this next step, and as an unrestricted free agent this offseason, look for him to sign with a team lacking a true starting goalie.

On the whole, we were very consistent about Ramo's inconsistiency, and the questions on whether or not he truly is a starting goaltender. We were all fans of his flashy problem solving (problems which he created) and his pendant for dramatic goalkeeping. All in all, we gave him a B for this previous season.

So what's going to happen with Ramo? We have no clue. The Flames have been all over the place with their goalie solutions, acting somewhat committed to both Hiller and Ramo while simultaneously pursuing Cam Talbot and Martin Jones. Joni Ortio is waiver-eligible now, and will likely be on the senior squad to start the year. As a high profile, potentially elite goalie, it's too risky to send him down. Someone needs to go.

Tomorrow will probably decide that for the Flames. The Sharks are rumoured to be interested in Ramo, and there are probably many other teams who wouldn't mind a .912 SV% backup goalie. Crazy as it sounds, he's one of the top UFA goaltenders on the market Canada Day, and someone will take a run for him. If he isn't signed and is still lingering towards the start of the season, the Flames could want him back on a short contract if they still aren't sure about Ortio. We'll see tomorrow.