It has been seven years since the Calgary Flames had the type of goaltending star the team could hang its hat on. Since Miikka Kiprusoff left for the Finnish hinterlands in 2013 the club has been piecemealing its goalie tandems together, year after year.
Heck, one year they famously carried a trio of twine-minders, with disastrous results.
Is this the off-season in which Brad Treliving decides to finally land his club a legitimate superstar in net? This year there are several significant adds available, via trade or free agency, but the question is whether he sees upgrading his netminding as his priority.
With a flat cap and tight budget, Treliving will likely have limit his spending in goal in order to acquire a significant defenceman or two on the open market.
To answer the question above, he must decide if he’s content taking the easiest and most sensible route, by simply re-signing Cam Talbot
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to join David Rittich once again.
Rittich played in the All-Star game and Talbot carried the Flames in the second half as part of a dependable tandem that saw the club finish 13th in save percentage and 16th in goals against per game.
Goaltending was not an issue in Calgary, especially in the playoffs when Talbot shone.
Rittich is under contract for one more year at $2.75 million, so Treliving must make a decision on Talbot, an unrestricted free agent who has expressed an interest in re-upping with the club that helped him re-establish himself as a dependable everyday NHLer.
The team approached the 32-year-old during the pandemic pause with a desire to have him return but his stellar playoff play confirmed such a return would require a bump in pay from his “show-me” contract. With both sides comfortable with a return engagement, it seems pretty tempting to maintain such stability between the pipes.
However, with so many intriguing options out there, and potential heir apparent Dustin Wolf still tabbed to toil in junior where he is the reigning goalie of the year, is this the year Treliving sticks his neck out for a goalie who could be here long term?
A quick look at the six candidates:
Cap hit last season: $3.666 million
Stats: 23-16-2, 2.75 GAA, .918 SV%
Problem: His price tag.
The Vancouver Canucks revelation tops the list of unrestricted free agents and suddenly became very much in play after Thatcher Demko mopped up playoff duty with an all-world performance against Vegas. The six-foot-six, 206-pound wall will be the most expensive add possible, as he’s looking for a long-term deal. It’s not out of the realm of possibility he sees Calgary as a good fit.