The Calgary Flames have re-signed back-up goalie Henrik Karlsson to a two-year contract worth $1.725 million. He posted a 4-5-6 record last season with a .908 save % and a 2.58 GAA.
Comments from Jay Feaster regarding the signing (taken from flames.nhl.com):
"We are very pleased to have Hank under contract and welcome him back,” said Flames General Manager Jay Feaster. “Last season he demonstrated that he is more than capable as a dependable back-up goalie to Kipper who can win games for us when needed and get us valuable points in the standings. Hank’s game performances, especially after long layoffs and in relief efforts, his work ethic, and his positive personality earned him the trust and support of Brent and his teammates and we are happy to have him back in the fold."
The signing doesn’t surprise me and it’s probably the right one. As much I would love to see Leland Irving given a chance in the NHL, it would probably be best to have him gain some more confidence at the AHL level and bring him up for a maybe a spot start here or there.
Regardless though, Irving will not just play dead. He will battle even harder in training camp to try and prove to the Flames brass that he deserves to play in the big leagues –and he will play with the big boys one day, that much I am sure of.
I believe Irving is the future of goaltending in this city once Kipper decides to move on, whether to the retirement home or to another franchise.
Karlsson is simply a solid number two at this point. That’s not to say he couldn’t one day be a starter but I’d like to think that the Flames would love to see Irving, a Flames draft pick, between the pipes one day.
Karlsson is the safe play and he showed last season that he can be reliable when called upon. Depending on how the season goes will depend on how much work he receives. If the Flames are forced to play catch up again like last season, expect The Calgary Tower to be stapled to the end of the bench and forced into the role of permanent water boy/bench warmer/cheerleader.
With the Karlsson signing, it still leaves Tanguay and Pardy as realistic guys to be re-signed before July 1 – Staios is gone, Modin is not coming back, Babchuk apparently wants too much money, Mikkleson is replaceable and Morrison is the wild card and could be a last minute deal.
And with the salary cap set to increase to $64 million next season, you would think that signing Tanguay is all but certain now. The Flames sit at just over $57 million right now which leaves roughly $6.5 million to sign Tanguay and a couple other fill in players.
Hopefully they are just crossing those “t’s” and dotting the “i’s” as we speak.
Feaster has a busy two weeks ahead of him.