Announced recently, the Flames have resigned last year’s goalie tandem in Stockton to contracts for the upcoming season, uniting one of the best 🇺🇸 and 🇨🇿 goalies Stockton has ever seen!
Both Jon Gillies and David Rittich are back in the mix, and while they’ll both hope to push Mike Smith (🇨🇦) and Eddie Lack (🇸🇪) for playing time in Calgary, the pair could find themselves tending the net for the Heat in 2017-18.
Drafted in 2012, Gillies has long been considered one of the top up and coming goalie prospects in all of the NHL, proving it in 2015-16 as he earned his first pro win and first pro shutout in the first ever game for the Stockton Heat, where the club beat the Rockford IceHogs 7-0.
Another shutout win later, Gillies unfortunately found himself aggravating an existing hip injury during Hot Pink 1 and was shutdown for the rest of his rookie season.
He returned to the Heat in 2016-17 and picked up right where he left off, going 18-14-1 with a .910 save-percentage and a 2.93 goals-against-average and played his heart out during the second and third periods of the eventual overtime losing effort in Game 5 against the Barracuda.
Meanwhile, Rittich, who was plucked from relative obscurity, playing two seasons for Mlada Boleslav BK of the Czech Extraliga (top Czech League) and would come in to make an immediate impact.
Going 15-11-1, Rittich kept the Heat in many games during his first season and had some of the best numbers in all of the AHL to prove it, finishing with a .924 save-percentage and a 2.27 goals-against-average, finishing eighth among AHL goalies in those categories.
He also set a new Heat record for most shutouts in a single season with five, which was also tied for the second most among AHL goalies in 2016-17. Rittich is now the Heat all-time leader in shutouts, surpassing Kevin Poulin and Gillies during the season.
Both goalies would make their NHL debuts for the Flames as well last season, with Gillies starting for the Flames in a game against the Los Angeles Kings, allowing one goal on 28 shots and earning his first NHL win. Rittich would come in for the Flames final period in the regular season against the San Jose Sharks stopping nine of 10 shots.
Should they be both be back tending the Stockton net in 2017-18, Heat coaches and fans alike will feel pretty comfortable with both goalies tending the net!