We’ve been a little hard on Leland Irving this week, but he’s probably deserved it. Despite a respectable win/loss record, Irving’s numbers have been underwhelming. After allowing more than three goals per game, the Calgary Flames have decided to move forward without him – for now.
After bringing in Joey MacDonald to help wait out the injury to Miikka Kiprusoff, it is clear that Leland Irving could benefit from some time in the AHL to work on his game. He has been reassigned to Abbotsford and Danny Taylor has been called up to take his place. The Calgary Flames announced the reasoning behind the maneuver as follows, according to NHL.com:
“By sending Leland to Abbotsford at this time he does not require waivers. We want Leland to go down and work on sharpening his game. At the same time this enables us to continue to evaluate Danny Taylor at the NHL level. Given Kipper’s injury we are undergoing a process of evaluating our other goaltenders and this assignment of Leland and subsequent recall of Danny is in furtherance of that evaluation process.”
While it is clear that Leland Irving is not quite ready for the NHL, Danny Taylor might be. Taylor leads all AHL goaltenders in goals against average, which will likely lead to an improvement from Irving’s 3.33 GAA. Additionally, Danny Taylor has been tested in the AHL, stopping nearly 93 percent of the shots he’s faced, ranking 5th in the AHL in saves percentage at .929.
Things can’t get much worse for the Calgary Flames as they wait for Kipper to get healthy. By sending Leland Irving down, they can give Danny Taylor the look he deserves and protect Leland Irving from the waivers process. As big a blow as it might be to Irving’s confidence, bringing up Danny Taylor is the right move.