It was already starting to become a rebuilding year for the Calgary Flames, as their nine points have them tied for last in the Western Conference. Jarome Iginla is being dangled as trade bait, and the team lacks the offensive and defensive depth to contend. Their problems got worse this week as goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff‘s injury is expected to sideline him at least an additional two weeks.
Kiprusoff has been one of the few bright spots on the Calgary roster in recent years. When on, he is capable of defeating anyone and he has carried the Flames to middling finishes despite poor roster quality at times. Unfortunately, Kiprusoff is suffering from a grade-two MCL sprain. Backup Leland Irving will see increased duties in Kipper’s absence to close out a slow month of February.
Kiprusoff was off to an uncharacteristically poor start to the 2013 season. He has a losing record on the year, a save percentage of just 87%, and is allowing 3.24 goals per game. The Flames struggles, combined with Kiprusoff’s slow start and an anemic offense, have the Calgary Flames reeling at the quarter point of the season.
The Flames may not be able to compete without their star goaltender. If that’s the case, Kiprusoff’s injury provides an opportunity to evaluate the roster, including Leland Irving, and move forward. When Kiprusoff finally returns in two weeks, the Flames will likely be well out of contention in a shortened season. With interest in Jarome Iginla piqued, now is an excellent time to change the direction of the franchise and launch a legitimate rebuilding effort.