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Flames face uncertainty in goal heading into offseason

After getting swept, Brian Elliott, Chad Johnson able to become free agents

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames are entering the offseason with uncertainty in goal. 

The Flames were swept by the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference First Round, and each of their goaltenders in the series, Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson, can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

"You need solid goaltending to be competitive in this league," Calgary general manager Brad Treliving said Friday. "We saw it. Chad had a real good stretch this year. Brian had a real good stretch this year. Without that, we're doing this meeting 10 days ago.

"We'll take a step back. We'll exhale. Then we'll start digging into looking at the goaltending position, and all our positions."

The Flames' season ended Wednesday when they lost Game 4 3-1 to the Ducks. Elliott was pulled 5:38 into the first period when Patrick Eaves scored from a sharp angle on Anaheim's third shot. 

"I hope that doesn't go into the decision," Elliott said. "We've all been around this game long enough to know it's a body of work and not just a couple of games here and there. That's not the way anybody wants to end a game, let alone a season. 

"I wouldn't have done anything different on the play. It's not like I'm wrapping my brain around, 'Why didn't I do this? Why didn't I do that?' I would have made the exact same save selection. That's how I can compartmentalize things."

Video: CGY@ANA, Gm2: Elliott stops Getzlaf on the doorstep

Elliott, who was acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Blues on June 24, allowed five goals on 27 shots in a 5-4 overtime loss in Game 3 on Monday and was 0-3-0 with a 3.89 goals-against average and .880 save percentage starting each game of the series.

"I think everyone would agree, and Brian would be the first one, that he's capable of playing much better," Treliving said. "The playoffs didn't go the way he'd like them to go. He'd be the first one to admit it. You take all the information and exhale. Emotion and frustration and all those things … I haven't seen them ever be helpful in decision-making, so we'll take a step back." 

Elliott, who won three of his first 14 games and was went 26-18-3 with a 2.55 goals-against average and .910 save percentage this season, said he would like to return to Calgary. 

"I said that from Day One, that I would welcome the opportunity," the 32-year-old said. "Now, it's kind of out my hands right now. It's up to management and my agent and all that. Right now, it's good to be a full-time dad and take some time with the family."

Video: ANA@CGY, Gm4: Johnson turns aside barrage of shots

Johnson (18-15-1; 2.59; .910) also expressed interest in staying with the Flames (45-33-4), who were the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference and finished fourth in the Pacific Division.  

"It was fun to play here," the 30-year-old said. "The fans are great, as I know. My family enjoyed it and my wife enjoyed it. More importantly, it was a great hockey team to be a part of, a great organization and one heading in the right direction.

"I want to be a part of that. There's always issues with contracts that have to be figured out and things like that, but my heart is here. There's no denying that. I'd love to remain here in Calgary."

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