The Calgary Flames and their fans have been looking forward to next season for quite some time. Unofficially falling out of contention early, this has been a tough one for the organization, especially having traded their longtime franchise player, Jarome Iginla, at the trade deadline.
But he may not be the only long tenured Flame to see his exit in 2013. The Flames could be looking at a vacancy between the pipes in the very near future. After pressing hard to trade Miikka Kiprusoff at the deadline, it’s pretty clear that they’re looking at a potential changing of the guard in the crease.
Kiprusoff’s contract runs through next season, so there’s a chance he could be back. But after posting one of the worst seasons by any goaltender in league history, with an .822 save percentage and 3.44 GAA, it’s tough to see it. He indicated around the deadline that he was going to retire this summer. In fact, the Flames fans have already said their goodbyes.
Which means that it’s time to start looking at other options in goal for the Flames. In house, the Flames have Leland Irving (free agent) and Joey MacDonald. Neither one is an option that screams long term, but Irving is still young. If the Flames are still this deep into the rebuild phase next year, he could get a shot.
But the Flames could also look outside of the organization. There will be a couple of names out on the trade market, but they’ll all require a lot. Ryan Miller and Jonathan Bernier are just a couple of names that will be out there. The latter makes significantly more sense for a rebuilding team.
The options out on the free agent market aren’t exactly overwhelming. Mike Smith is the biggest name on the free agent market, as far as goaltenders go. Names like Ray Emery and Niklas Backstrom are also out there, along with a host of old men and career backups.
This is going to be an interesting situation to watch for the Flames. They obviously have multiple needs all over their roster, but goaltending is going to be a large question heading into next season, once the fate of Miikka Kiprusoff is officially determined.