The Calgary Flames are in trouble. The team recently found out that top goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff will miss at least another two weeks with a sprained knee ligament. The team has been leaning on youngster Leland Irving in Kiprusoff’s absence, but he seems to be unable to handle the pressure of being an NHL starter thus far. The Flames also claimed former Detroit Red Wings netminder Joey MacDonald off waivers on Monday but have already confirmed Irving will get the start in net tonight against the Dallas Stars. MacDonald put together an 8-5-1 record for the Red Wings but hasn’t played since March of last year due to a back injury.
The Flames should be big players in trying to find a goaltender in the offseason with Kiprusoff battling injuries and a lack of options at the AHL level. Irving appears to be at best an NHL backup at this point which leaves the team in quite a bind. The Flames had signed Danny Taylor, a career minor leaguer, to a contract before claiming MacDonald, but he is likely on his way back to the AHL and wasn’t a solid option to see much game time anyways. Calgary also has Joni Ortio under contract but he is currently playing in Finland and has just 10 games of North American playing experience.
In 11 appearances for the Flames, Irving is 2-4-4 with a 3.00 goals against average and a .909 save percentage. Kiprusoff wasn’t exactly carrying the team this season either, which further complicates things. Irving may not be off to a great start but his statistics are still better than the veteran netminder’s 2-3-2 record with a 3.23 GAA. The next two weeks promise to be very interesting for the Flames and Irving will get at least a few more chances to prove his doubters wrong.