The Calgary Flames had a rough season last year due to some pretty bad goalies. They had a carousal of goalies starting with Jonas Hiller. Hiller played in 26 games last year and finished with a goals against average (GAA) of 3.51 and a terrible save percentage of .879. They soon gave up on Hiller and they turned to Karri Ramo. Ramo played the most games of their season with 37 games, Ramo wasn’t much better as he posted a 2.63 GAA and save percentage .909.
They gave youngster Joni Ortio 22 games and the trend continued with him as his numbers were 2.76 GAA and save percentage .902. The team got desperate as they turned to Niklas Backstrom for four games and his numbers were also pretty bad as he posted 3.35 GAA and save percentage of .881.
So it didn’t come as surprise that the team needed to bring in some better goaltending. They thought they accomplished this when they traded with St. Louis for Brian Elliott. He was set to become the Flames new number one goalie.
They also added Chad Johnson through free agency after his career year in Buffalo. He was set to be the backup to start the season. Johnson believes he can be a number one goalie and maybe believed he could beat Elliott out for the number one spot, but was content as number two.
Well things didn’t go as suspected for Brian Elliott. After back-to-back losses to Edmonton and allowing 10 goals. They final give Chad Johnson his first start of the season against Vancouver and he earns the team the first points of the season as the team falls to Vancouver in overtime. They give Johnson his second start of the season 3 days later vs. Buffalo and he gives the team their first win of the season.
The Flames gave Brian Elliott another chance against the Carolina Hurricanes. He gave up another 4 goals and another loss for the Flames. Elliott’s season stats thus far are horrible with a GAA of 4.72 and save percentage of .839. Johnson however has tremendous numbers thus far with GAA of 1.89 and save percentage of .923. This ranks him top 10 in NHL in both stats.
The Flames still believe Brian Elliott is their number one goalie even when the stats don’t back the information up. I am a believer in playing the hot goalie and thus I think Johnson should take over as number one. Elliott may have a better career numbers and more experience in bigger games. But Johnson can be a number one goalie and Calgary should give him the chance.
Although a team can’t make the playoffs this early in the year, they can definitely lose hope. When a team plays their hearts out and yet they lose because of a lack of goaltending, it can kill a team’s morale and impact a team greatly. I am not saying Calgary’s season is over, all I am saying is Johnson is the hot goalie and they should give him a chance to be the number one.