According to Roger Millions of Rogers Sportsnet Calgary, the Flames bringing in another goalie could lead to a deal:
All of a sudden..4 goalies under contract? Hmm..could something be happening in the trade market as part of a package?? #Flames— Roger Millions (@RogMillions) February 11, 2013
The top two goalies on the Flames' roster are Miikka Kiprusoff and Leland Irving.
Irving is in his second year in the NHL and while it's a very small sample size, he's been solid in his three starts this year, posting a 1-1-1 record with a GAA of 2.62.
Kiprusoff is the experienced veteran of the two. The 36-year-old is 2-3-2 this season with a GAA of 3.23, but his last two performances against the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings have been his strongest of the season thus far.
However, Kiprusoff is on the shelf for about another two weeks thanks to a sprained MCL, per Sportsnet 960's Twitter page:
#Flames goalie Kiprusoff out approximately 2 more weeks with a sprained MCL.— Sportsnet 960(@Sportsnet960) February 12, 2013
While that will no doubt cancel Kiprusoff out of any trade talks at the moment, there is still plenty of time for him to return and show he can be a valuable asset for a team in need should the Flames look to deal him.
After all, the deadline isn't until April 3.
The reason for the influx of goalies in Calgary came as a result of Kiprusoff's injury. After the veteran goaltender went down, general manager Jay Feaster brought in Danny Taylor and Joey MacDonald to give his team some options in net behind Irving.
But those options have now led to far too many goalies on the roster and once Kiprusoff comes back, that will make for four. If three's a crowd, four is trade bait.
Let's see who could be the most valuable on the trade market.
Who's Most Valuable?
This question comes down to just two: Kiprusoff and Irving.
I'm sure both Taylor and MacDonald are nice guys, but neither of them possess the kind of successful track record for teams to take a chance on. They're both out as far as trade bait is concerned.
Depending on what a team is looking for, either of the other two goalies can have significant value.
Irving is a former first-round selection of the Flames back in 2006 (No. 26 overall) and is only 24 years old. Clearly, there is a future for Irving in the NHL as long as he continues to develop, so a team looking for a long-term solution would no doubt be interested.
However, it's likely the Flames will look to hold onto Irving since beyond him, they don't really have a future in net.
That's because Kiprusoff is in the twilight years of his career and at age 36 there's no telling how much he has left. On top of that, Kiprusoff only has one more year left on his deal after the 2012-13 season and there's a possibility he either retires or the Flames cut ties with him altogether.
But for a team looking for a reinforcement at the goaltender spot, Kiprusoff is the perfect option. He can still be a solid starter for a lot of teams in this league, but having him as a backup would give any team immense depth at the position.
With the future of the team in mind, Kiprusoff is the best option to trade at the moment as long as he gets back in time to prove he's healthy—but it's obvious both goalies have a ton of value in their own right.
Who gets traded will just depend on what direction the Flames plan on going in.
What do the Flames Need?
The Flames have multiple needs to address before the deadline.
Calgary is ranked No. 19 in the NHL in goals per game (2.6), but that's without much production from Jarome Iginla and Michael Cammalleri. Both have combined for just one goal this season and 10 assists, and Cammalleri is currently on the IR..
However, if the Flames can get those two going on the offensive end, they might be able to avoid making a deal for another scorer and could focus on defense instead. If Cammalleri is hurt for an extended period of time, adding another goal scorer will become more necessary.
The Flames are ranked No. 24 in the NHL in goals against (3.2), which could be seen as a bigger weakness for this team.
There's no question bringing in another physical defender would help Calgary. There has been some lackluster goaltending to start the season and that has been the cause for such a poor ranking, but adding a talented defender will make things much easier for whoever is in net for the Flames.
You can pretty much pick your poison as to what the Flames need in order to get their season going in the right direction.
And while that is up for debate, it's becoming more than likely that one of their many goaltenders will be a big piece in any deal the Flames make.
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