Sunday, April 14, 2013

On the Topic Of Joey MacDonald's Future in Calgary

With the Calgary Flames season in disarray, the look is to the future-- which many think is not looking too much better for the foreseeable future-- especially between the pipes. With the future of Miikka Kiprusoff up in the air with how serious he is when it comes to his retirement threats, what's to come next for the goaltendings.

Enter Joey MacDonald and his audition that has been going in the past two weeks or so. MacDonald has gone 4-1-0 since March 27th in his seven appearances with the Flames and, to me, I think he's at least garnered another contract for at least next season to be in a 1A/B model for the 2013-14 season for the incoming European goalies-- or as a back-up for Kiprusoff should he not stick to his retirement talk.

MacDonald has been a somewhat serviceable back-up or third string goalie, though his numbers tell a different tale. Despite being 7-6-1 overall for the Flames, the fact he has been playing better as the team has been getting somewhat better is a definite good sign for things moving forward. Plus, considering the fact MacDonald has been known to linger on the bench for long stretches at a time-- should Kipper come back, he'd be one of the best choices for a back-up as any of their younger guys or European import.

Taking into account that Kiprusoff won't be back-- what could the Flames do with their prospects coming over for next season. Karri Ramo has been highly regarded by GM Jay Feaster as the best goalie not in the NHL, but while he has done well in the KHL-- it doesn't mean it'll always translate to the NHL game. Same goes for the other European goalie in Reto Berra, who has done well in the Swiss league, but may not be able to thrive in the NHL or North America as a whole.

Already in their system is Danny Taylor, who was signed by the Flames when Kipper went down with an injury. Taylor overtook the starting role in Abbotsford of the AHL from Barry Brust, who was hot for Abbotsford early in the season, but Taylor has taken the NHL experience and stepped his game. So much so that the once promising prospect in Leland Irving has been relegated to third-string in Abbotsford and very much off the radar for the Flames.

With all this uncertainty, it definitely makes a strong case for MacDonald to actually get another shot with the Flames. He's the devil that is known and can actually get the job done on a team that may not know or understand it's new identity. MacDonald is having a strong stretch run and if Feaster just let's MacDonald get away in hopes that the imports without contracts and who have been out of (or not been in) the NHL for a while will be a better option-- then he deserves to be tarred-and-feathered after his firing.

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