As bad as this season has been for the Calgary Flames, it may be hard to believe that things could get worse for the team before they get better. The Flames have already traded away franchise-leading scorer and captain Jarome Iginla, and could move Jay Bouwmeester and other players before the trade deadline. If a big deal does go down, the Flames would be wise to try and land a top goaltending prospect in return as their current situation is full of questions for the future.
Rumors continue to swirl that there is a very real possibility that goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff could head back to Finland at the end of the season and not return. Former Flames coach Mike Keenan recently told a radio show that “when he negotiated the contract with Kipper, that Kipper had no intention, at the time, of playing the final year – he’s set to make just $1.5 million.” While Kiprusoff has been well below average this season, he can still be one of the better goaltenders in the league on any given night. He was slowed by an injury this season, and there’s a very real chance the Flames could be closer to playoff contention had he not missed so much time.
The Flames system has a few goaltenders who could be NHL regulars someday, but none ready to be more than a backup at the moment. Leland Irving saw some time with the team early this season, but it quickly became clear that the Flames have less faith in him than they once did. Calgary drafted junior prospect Laurent Brossoit in the sixth round of the 2011 draft, and while he has the talent to be a sleeper-pick star for them someday, he’s nowhere near ready. If by some chance Kiprusoff does play out his contract, it would be a great chance for the Flames to train a young netminder under his tutelage. If Kiprusoff leaves, the Flames may finally hit rock bottom.