Our worst fears may have been realized. Mike Smith went down with just a few seconds to go against the Islanders in what looked to be a serious injury. Of course we don’t know one way or the other yet but now we have to consider that this could be a long term thing.
I have to say that I hope this piece won’t end up mattering and that Smitty is okay. I should also point out that David Rittich definitely deserves to start for the next little while, but I thought it would make sense to see what could be available and affordable outside of the club.
It is worth noting that opposing GM’s aren’t going to feel bad for the Flames and toss them a lifeline now that Smith is down. Some sort of low cost acquistion makes more sense if the Flames look outside of the organization.
In House Goaltending Options
David Rittich (5-1-2, 2.20 GAA, 0.927 sv% with Flames)
Without a doubt Rittich deserves a crack at the starters net as he has looked very good in his starts this season. He’ll be thrown to the wolves with two tough road starts against Boston and Nashville to end this trip.
Jon Gillies (14-12-4, 2.61 GAA, 0.915 sv% in Stockton)
Gillies is really the Flames only in house option at the moment as Tyler Parsons went down with an injury himself today in an AHL game. I expect Gillies to be called up to the Flames as soon as possible.
Outside Goaltending Possibilities
Before everyone tears me apart on these suggestions, I want you to keep in mind that the Flames don’t really have huge assets to use for a top goalie, and they don’t want a goalie with a contract past this season. These are realistic goalies likely available for very little.
Chad Johnson (3-9-3, 3.57 GAA, 0.886 sv% with Buffalo)
Johnson has had an abysmal season with the Sabres, but really who on the Sabres hasn’t been terrible. The Flames seem to like acquiring familiar faces, and with the Sabres selling and Johnson struggling, he could very cheap to the Flames.
Calvin Pickard (16-5-0, 1.85 GAA, 0.931 sv% with Toronto Marlies)
Pickard is an interesting case in that he’s essentially the fourth goalie on the Leafs depth chart. Curtis McElhinney is currently the Leafs backup and playing quite well, while Garret Sparks is playing tremendously on the Marlies. Maybe the Flames could get him for cheap.
Ondrej Pavelec (4-7-1, 3.01 GAA, 0.910 sv% with New York Rangers)
Pavelec definitely doesn’t seem to be the most skilled goalie on this list but he may come cheap with the Rangers headed for full rebuild mode.
Jeff Glass (3-5-3, 3.13 GAA, 0.905 sv% with Chicago)
Calgary kid and one of the feel good stories of the NHL this season. He has been okay but I don’t know if I could trust him to lead this team.
Antti Raanta (9-14-6, 2.64 GAA, 0.916 sv% with Arizona)
The Coyotes already gave us one goaltending stud this year, maybe they can give us another goalie who needs to get out of the desert. Probably unlikely giving the high price the ‘Yotes paid for him last summer.
Yikes after looking at that list, there aren’t any goalies I really would want outside of maybe Pickard. Hopefully Smith is okay, but it looks like a Rittich-Gillies tandem may be the most sensible way to go.
Really hope Smith ends up being okay, he’s had an Vezina calibre season to this point.