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Previewing The 2021-22 Calgary Flames: The Goalies

It’s Jacob Markstrom or bust in 2021-22.

NHL: Calgary Flames at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

2021-22 Preview: The Goalies

As we get ready for the 2021-22 season, we thought we’d break down the Flames by their positions: the forwards, the defence and goaltending. Today we’re taking a look at the Flames goalies, which might be the most reliable and confident unit on the team. For the first time since Miikka Kiprusoff the Flames are coming into a season with no questions about their starting goaltender. Before we jump into who left the Flames, who’s arrived and what we expect for the upcoming campaign, below is what the Flames looked like in 2021.

Calgary Flames 2021 Goaltending
Player GP W/L/T GAA Save % GA Shots Saves
Jacob Markstrom 43 22-19-2 2.66 .904 111 1161 1050
David Rittich 15 4-7-1 2.90 .904 36 374 338
Louis Domingue 1 0-1-0 3.12 .870 3 23 20
Artyom Zagidulin 1 0-0-0 4.25 .818 2 11 9

The Flames really didn’t utilize anyone but Jacob Markstrom and David Rittich in 2021. Markstrom carried most of the work load, but did spend some time on IR after taking out a Vancouver Canucks player early in the season. David Rittich stepped in and played decent as he was thrust into the starter’s role. Rittich would find himself on a new team at the trade deadline, as Calgary dealt him to the Toronto Maple Leafs. After the trade it was pretty much the Jacob Markstrom show. Darryl Sutter rode the Flames starter hard, sending him out in 15 straight games before giving him a rest in the second to last game of the season. Outside of David Rittich, the Flames backups didn’t get much of a chance to see the ice and when they did it wasn’t anything to write home about. With that in mind, here’s a look at who left the Flames and who arrived this offseason.

Out With The Old
Player GP W/L/T GAA Save% GA Shots Saves
David Rittich (TOR) 15 4-7-1 2.90 .904 36 374 338
Louis Domingue (PIT) 1 0-1-0 3.12 .870 3 23 20
Artyom Zagidulin (KHL) 1 0-0-0 4.25 .818 2 11 9
In With The New
Player GP W/L/T GAA Save% GA Shots Saves
Dan Vladar (BOS) 5 2-2-1 3.40 .886 17 149 132
Adam Werner (COL-AHL) 11 6-4-1 2.55 .908 28 305 277

You could have been concerned with the Flames bringing in just Dan Vladar and Adam Werner this offseason and your fears would have been justified. Vladar only played in five games last season with the Bruins and was average at best. However, what Vladar did in the preseason was nothing short of fantastic. The Czech Republic native was one of the Flames best players on the ice in the preseason and he put to rest any fears of the Flames not having a quality backup, which is important. Calgary doesn’t have a prospect ready in the minors and Adam Werner didn’t really show anything in the preseason to help push him past Vladar to earn the backup role.

In the end, none of the above really matter because this is Jacob Markstrom’s team. Sutter showed that last season with his reliance on Markstrom down the stretch and if the Flames plan on making the playoffs he’s going to have to be great. The former Vancouver Canuck doesn’t have an issue suiting up a ton as he’s played in 60, 60, 43 and 43 games over the last four seasons and both of those 43 game seasons were due to a condensed COVID-19 schedule. If both of those seasons were full 82 game campaigns there is no doubt Markstrom would have approached the 60 game mark.

The wildcard for any of the Flames goalies is there will be new defensive pairings in front of them this season and they’re going to have to adjust to these new teammates and lines. Mark Giordano is no longer captaining and manning the blueline so the rest of the Flames defenders will have to gel quickly for Markstrom and or Vladar to have success.

If I were to guess (and this is without injury) I would think Jacob Markstrom would see about 60-70 games this season. The Flames have a short window as a team and if the starter is hot, Darryl Sutter has made it clear he will ride the hot goalie until they no longer are. Look at what he did with Miikka Kiprusoff in 2005-06 in his first full season as Calgary’s goaltender, putting him out there 72 times. If Dan Vladar can go, say, .500 in his starts off the bench Calgary should be in good shape. Any type of long term injury to Jacob Markstrom would derail the 2021-22 season completely. As good as Vladar was in the preseason he’s not going to be able to carry the Flames if any kind of injury were to occur with Jacob Markstrom. Then again, Sutter did mine Kiprusoff from San Jose in 03-04 when Roman Turek went down, but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. This season pretty much rides or dies with how well Markstrom plays and his ability to stay on the ice and healthy. No pressure or anything.


Are the Flames goalies better in 2021-22?

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