Joni Ortio insisted that a full eight hours of shut-eye was ahead of him.


“I’m going to sleep like a baby,” said the Calgary Flames netminder, holding court in his (temporary) corner of the team dressing room following Wednesday’s declaration of his starting goaltending duties tonight against the L.A. Kings. “I think. I’m pretty sure. I’m a good sleeper . . . the kind that sleeps through the night.”

But regardless of uninterrupted snooze time or not, Thursday (7:30 p.m., TSN, Sportsnet 960 The FAN) couldn’t have come soon enough for Ortio.

His National Hockey League debut. Finally. A long time coming for the 22-year-old Finn who was drafted in the sixth round (171st overall) of the 2009 entry draft.

But Ortio’s development has been a progression — and a natural one in the NHL goaltending world.

His path this season began with a decent rookie camp, but he wound up posting in the East Coast Hockey League (briefly) anyway.

After the Flames’ goaltending shuffle took place (Reto Berra summoned and Joey MacDonald demoted), he assumed the No. 1 starter with the Abbotsford Heat. Then, he proved himself with a 20-6-0 record a 2.22 goals against average and 0.926 save percentage in the American Hockey League.