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Flames facing net decisions

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames



CALGARY, AB --
Two’s company. Three’s a crowd.

And Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving knows there’s only one net.

“A wise man once told me there's only one net,” Treliving started. “Carrying three goaltenders…you can do it for a short period of time, it doesn't make sense. I think all three goaltenders have shown the ability to play. I thought we had good goaltender, but we need time to decompress, push away and think clearly about what we think is the best decision.”

The Flames currently have two goaltenders under one-way contracts next fall.

Jonas Hiller, 33, has one season remaining on a two-year contract signed last July, while Joni Ortio, 24, has one year remaining on a deal that, after serving as a two-way pact in 2014-15, becomes one-way next fall.

Karri Ramo, 28, is set for unrestricted free agency on July 1st.

Ramo and Hiller split the workload in both the regular season and playoffs.

Hiller started 44 games, and appeared in 52 total, in the regular season, posting a 26-19-4 record with a goals against average of 2.36 and a save percentage of .918. He went 3-3 in the playoffs and helped Calgary beat the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference First Round, advancing the Flames past the opening series for the first time since 2004.

He stumbled in Game 7 against Vancouver, though, and again against his former club, the Anaheim Ducks, in the second round. Ramo relieved him.

In the regular season, Ramo started 32 games and appeared in 34 overall, recording a 15-9-3 record with a 2.60 goals against average and .912 save percentage.

“You always want to play,” Hiller said. “It was tough because I thought I had a really good series against Vancouver and I never got the chance to play against Anaheim. But at the same time, it was something similar over the whole year, which wasn't easy to have two guys to help the team, sometimes it was tough because you felt good about your game and then you didn't play for a while.

“It wasn't easy, but it's part of it. Looking back I think it helped to have that situation with the two goalies even though as a goalie yourself you wish you could keep playing, especially if you feel good about yourself, but it's the way it was and I think we both made the most of it.”

The situation heading into 2015-16 might be similar, though talks between the free-agent-to-be Ramo and the Flames haven’t reached a serious stage yet.

“I haven’t really discussed it with anybody,” he said. “There’s been some kind of talks but everything is open, really. I haven’t thought about it. During the year, I thought everything will take care of itself and I just had to focus on hockey. It’s the same thing right now. We’ll see what’s going to happen. I’m sure whatever happens is going to be good.”

Ramo suggested he would embrace staying in Calgary, though.

“It’s been our home for two years now,” he said. “Change is always different. At my stage of my career, I’m turning 29, there’s still a few years left but do I want to change again? I don’t’ know. We’ll see.”

And then, there’s Ortio.

In six starts for the Flames, Ortio was 4-2-0 with a 2.52 goals against average and .908 save percentage.

"No one wants to back-up. Everyone wants to play," he said during his exit interview on Tuesday. "That’s what I’ll be looking to do next September in camp and trying to steal that number one job.

"You can’t take anything for granted. There are no guarantees. It’s going to be the two best guys in training camp that are going to get the spots. That’s what our standards are over here. No one is guaranteed a spot. I’ve got to work hard.”

Which two tend next season hasn’t been sorted yet.

“That’s something we’ll take the next little bit to figure out,” Treliving said.

“I thought both Jonas and Karri were a very big reason why we got to where we got to. It seemed one guy ran with it then the other guy picked him up. Ortio is pushing and showed he’s knocking on the door. That’s a decision we have to make.

“We’re just not there yet.”

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