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Calgary Flames

A Look at Calgary’s Search for Goaltending Stability

uspw_6012042The goaltending situation in Calgary continues to perplex, but some say it’s all part of moving forward.

We know that Miikka Kiprusoff is out with a knee injury and will be for about another 10 days or so. This has given the Flames an opportunity to check out the situation without their minute-munching goalie to worry about, which means a lot of goalies are moving through the system.

Leland Irving has played in half a dozen games thus far, starting five times in a row. Joey MacDonald is also in the mix. He started for the Flames against the Dallas Stars on Sunday and was claimed off waivers on Monday.

There are at least five more games for the Flames before Kiprusoff gets back from injury, so that gives the club a little more time to get things sorted. MacDonald will likely work to snag that back-up spot, but don’t count out Irving – or Danny Taylor.

Taylor, born in England, has been called up to the Flames while Irving has been sent down to the Abbotsford Heat. The move allowed Calgary to push Irving to the minors without having to worry about that whole waivers mess (and risk losing him). It’s all about timing.

“By sending Leland to Abbotsford at this time, he does not require waivers. We want Leland to go down and work on sharpening his game,” says Flames GM Jay Feaster. “At the same time, this enables us to continue to evaluate Danny Taylor at the NHL level. Given Kipper’s injury, we are undergoing a process of evaluating our other goaltenders, and this assignment of Leland and subsequent recall of Danny is in furtherance of that evaluation process.”

So how is it going so far?

Irving has been okay, posting a 2-1-1 record and a 3.33 GAA. Seeing some Abbotsford action will do him good.

Taylor, meanwhile, will have to prove himself at the NHL level after proving himself in the minors. He leads all AHL goalies with a 1.82 GAA and is fifth in save percentage (.929).

All this talk about possible goalies and back-up goalies in Calgary leaves out Karri Ramo. He’s currently playing in the KHL, but the Flames own his rights. The Finnish goalie is minding the store for Avangard Omsk and has seen NHL time with Tampa, but Calgary is hoping to give him a pretty good shot at some ice time.

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