After spending twelve years tending goal in the NHL, Miikka Kiprusoff has hung up the pads and called it a career. His career spanned 13 years, and saw him play for two teams, the San Jose Sharks and Calgary Flames. Kiprusoff spent the bulk of his career, and put up way better numbers, in goal for the Flames. In 24 games last season, Kiprusoff, 36, went 8-14-2 with 3.44 goals-against average and .882 save percentage.
“I decided to retire at the end of last season,” Kiprusoff said in a statement released by the team. “I appreciated [general manager] Jay Feaster and the Flames organization permitting me to take the summer to be 100 percent sure. It’s an important decision for me personally, my family, the Flames organization and fans. Jay and I had conversations over the summer and nothing had changed for me and upon returning to Calgary last week, I once again spoke with Jay and confirmed with him that I would be retiring.
“I’ve been very lucky to have spent 10 years of my career in Calgary. There is no better place to live and play. I look forward to taking the next year with my family to enjoy everything wonderful about southern Alberta.”
Kiprusoff retires as the Flames’ franchise leader in games played (576), wins (305) and shutouts (41). He was acquired from the Sharks in a trade November 16, 2003, and that season he led the Flames to the Stanley Cup Final. He went 15-11 with five shutouts, a 1.85 GAA and .928 save percentage in 26 playoff games.
Now when Kiprusoff started his career with the Sharks, he was sort of in a no-win situation. He got playing time, of course, but he was sitting behind Evgeni Nabokov on the depth chart and was really only playing about 20-25 games a year. At one point he had even fallen behind Vesa Toskala on the Sharks depth chart. So the move was made to send him to Calgary, and that’s where his career took off.
The Flames had a need and Kipursoff was their man as he came in and delivered for the Flames. Kiprusoff was given a chance to prove that he could be a number one goalie, and he ran with it in a big way, to the tune of winning 40 games three times and at least 30 games seven times. Kiprusoff is, quite arguably, the greatest netminder to ever wear a Flames jersey. Sure you can put Mike Vernon in that argument among the greatest netminders in Flames history, but in the current era, there is nobody that even comes close to Kiprusoff.
Now the big question is, does Kipursoff possibly qualify for Hall of Fame induction. I say he has the talent and the numbers, but it might be a long shot. There is no way he gets in on the first ballot; that’s not going to happen. He does have a chance to get in, but it all depends on who else is on the ball0t and who he might go up against.