Thursday, September 24, 2015

Calgary Flames Decisions

First posted on Flames Jambalaya

Going into the season, the Flames have some major choices to make. The biggest being in goal, crowded with three incumbents: Jonas Hiller, Karri Ramo, and of course Joni Ortio. Ortio having a one-way contract makes it that more interesting. This is the one choice I want to discuss tonight.

Karri Ramo

The ability of Karri to make the big save came in handy in the playoffs. But at the same time, his unfortunate ability to give up a bad goal was almost predictable. He was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The Flames need a more consistent goalie this season. Whether Karri can deliver is anyone guess.

Jonas Hiller

Jonas would be the first to tell you he can be better this season. I love his ability to cover his net. He has quick reflexes for rebounds for the second start. He is usually in position for the next opportunity. But he has the tendency to lose focus and let in bad goals. If he can return to his days in Disneyland, he is capable of being a consistent number one goalie.

Joni Ortio

Here is the wild card. Joni has been outstanding at AHL level. He really had no more to prove. He is a big, lanky goalie who covers the net. He is a very good positional goalie who needs to work to continue his progress. The negative is that I am not sure he will get enough action to do that.

Leafs Training Camp

The Leafs are inviting everyone but the kitchen sink to the camp. For those wondering why, simply because they are trying to get assets to move at the deadline. Right now it's not about winning; it's about getting as many packages as possible for a rebuild. As a result, they were handing out PTO'S like candy; the biggest two were given to Curtis Glencross and Brad Boyes.

Brad Boyes

Brad has been a serviceable player for the last couple of years, but he is not the same player as he once was. The Leafs must be hoping that somehow he impresses someone enough to grab him. If he can go back to years past, he may very well help the Leafs on the offensive side of the game.

Brad can still put some points out. Given the right opportunity and Brad can produce. He still has the hands to shoot, and the ability to think on the run.

I still think he can be useful as a third liner. He might also be useful on the second line power play. The Leafs have to realize they can't expect much. But saying that, they have nothing to lose.

Boyes is extremely slow. He may never catch up once he makes a mistake. He has lost a lot in his game and struggles in his own zone. The Leafs will not be able to use him in all the aspects. He will have to be a specialty player mostly for power plays, and an extra forward in the last minute of games. I suspect he will make the team as an asset at the deadline.

Curtis Glencross

Curtis can be one of the most frustrating players in the League. There is no doubt that he has all the skill to be a valuable contributor to the hockey club. He just gets too selfish and could get the Leafs into penalty trouble.

Glencross's speed is a valuable asset, and he has it to burn. He can also get into corners and can often get under the opposition's skin. If he can get into the opposition's head, he can get them to take stupid penalties. He often gets garbage goals in front of the net.

Michael Grabner

The acquisition of Michael Grabner is an interesting one. Michael has some talent and will be a big piece in the Leafs' season. He adds some speed which he can use to his advantage. He is coming off of a bad season and will be expected to rebound. He will be motivated to put last year behind him and will be another asset that they can use to trade at the deadline.

It will be interesting to see who the Leafs keep and who they use as trading chips at the deadline. I suspect the obvious ones gone at the deadline are Bozak, Lupal and perhaps Dman Jake Gardiner.

The biggest question will be who do they dare keep for the rebuild? Only time will tell.