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. - Karri Ramo
CALGARY, AB -- Karri Ramo could be set to explore both sides of the fence.
The pending unrestricted free agent knows what he has should a return to the Calgary Flames fit both parties. The 28-year-old goaltender is also curious what could lie beyond a return to Calgary following the expiration of a two-year contract signed two summers ago.
“I haven’t really discussed it with anybody,” Ramo said following exit meetings earlier this month. “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.
“It’s been our home for two years now. Change is always different. At my stage of my career, I’m turning 29, so there’s still a few years left but do I want to change again? I don’t’ know. We’ll see.”
Ramo’s rights were acquired by the Flames in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens in January 2012 and he signed with Calgary after spending four seasons with Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League.
He played 40 games alongside Reto Berra and Joni Ortio in 2013-14, recording a 17-15-4 record with a 2.65 goals against average and .911 save percentage. He followed it up with a similar performance in 2014-15, splitting time primarily with Jonas Hiller and recording a 15-9-3 record with a 2.60 goals against average and .912 save percentage.
“I think I’m a lot better goalie than I was last year and that’s always the goal, to become better,” Ramo said. “I think I succeeded in that. I feel that there’s a lot of work to do. As a goalie I feel like I can improve a lot. I’m not an old goalie yet. I’m not done. I think I can become a lot better.”
Ramo is looking for a landing spot that will improve his minutes, too.
But he’s not seeking a guarantee.
“I think everybody wants to be the guy who plays 60 games,” he said. “That’s the goal. What I learned is that the NHL, things that are said today are not said tomorrow. Everything changes so quickly. It doesn’t matter if you start in the lineup. You might end up being in a couple weeks playing every game. Things change. I don’t know if you go into the season as a tandem. It might look like that. It’s up for grabs If you play good enough even in this type of situation the other goalie would play 60 games.
“Nothing is set in even us being a tandem. I don’t think that way. It doesn’t matter where I go. The way I prepare is going to be the same and the way I try to play is the same.”
Whether or not it’s the same team he is playing for has yet to be decided.
Whether it’s a third season with the Flames or a first with another club remains to be seen.
As an unrestricted free agent come July 1, Ramo is within his rights to negotiate elsewhere.
“We’ll see,” he said. “It’s tempting for everybody and it’s my first time I might have to choose where I want to go. It’s something new for me in my career. We’ll see. But it’s a long ways to go until that. We’ll see what’s going to happen.
“I don’t think I’m in a bad position. I’m definitely not in a position where I need to hurry to make a decision. Things will take care of themselves. I’ve done my job with playing games. I gave everything I have when I played. That’s the way you earned contracts.
“Now we’ll see what’s going to happen. Things will take care of yourself.”