With the big news coming down Thursday about goaltender Karri Ramo not only clearing waivers, but that Calgary had officially assigned him to Stockton, Head Coach Ryan Huska and his staff knew they now had a crowded crease the same way Calgary had thus far during the season.
However, it is not something that concerns Huska. In fact he sees opportunity in the move.
“I think there will be a little bit of an adjustment until we sort things out down here,” Huska said. “We’ve had two guys that have worked very hard for us, but Karri Ramo is a proven NHL goaltender that’s coming down from a tough situation in Calgary. I’m excited about having him down here and I think he’ll be great for our other two guys.”
As a veteran of well over 100 NHL games and a key cog in Calgary’s postseason run last year, Ramo brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge of the game that Huska hopes will help the development of both Jon Gillies and Kent Simpson, as well as rub off on the rest of his squad.
“He practices as hard as he plays the game and he’s going to be a great role model for not just goalies but our team in general while he’s down here,” Huska explained. “I know when he gets back into his groove and builds his confidence back up he is going to be great for us. As I alluded to before, he’ll be a great leader in the locker room and hopefully we can get him to the point where he gets himself back up to the NHL sooner rather than later.”
Goaltending Coach Scott Gouthro echoed Huska’s points about Ramo’s leadership abilities and compete level in practice, saying that Ramo is a competitive and aggressive goaltender that will be a huge asset in the Heat crease.
“His experience speaks for itself,” Gouthro said. “You look at his resume and know that he’s an NHL goaltender. He has a great attitude and his work ethic is awesome, which is good for the younger guys to see. Even at his elite level he still works hard with the details and habits that a quality goaltender needs to have.”
Of course, getting to Calgary is everyone’s goal on this roster and Ramo will be no exception.
This season hasn’t started out the way anyone in Calgary planned on, but perhaps an opportunity with Stockton is just what Ramo needs to jumpstart another solid season for him within the Flames organization.
According to Coach Huska, an opportunity is exactly what the 29-year-old Ramo will get with the Heat.
“I think when you have the caliber of guys in net that we have, they each have to play,” Huska described. “We have two young guys here already and now an older guy that has all the experience in the world. Both sides of it are very important and we have to find a way to balance that out.”
So far this season, Coach Huska has stuck with Jon Gillies as his starter for the first three games of the young season and the rookie netminder has responded with a 2-1-0 record, posting two shutout wins along the way.
However, when it came to naming a starter for Saturday’s tilt with the San Antonio Rampage, Huska wasn’t ready to make a call just yet.
“Ramo’s travel plans are still up in the air right now so we’re not quite sure,” Huska said on if Ramo would be available for this Saturday’s contest. “There’s a chance he may be and there’s a chance he may not be. I can’t give you anything definitive right now.”
That said the Stockton Heat’s goaltending competition now looks steeper than ever.
One is a rookie who has put up two shutouts in his first three pro games, one is a promising young netminder that has already earned NHL experience and the other is an NHL veteran that led a young Calgary Flames team on a deeper playoff run than anyone pictured being possible last season.
Your move opposing shooters.