(Photo by Nick Didlick/Getty Images)
After Miikka Kiprusoff arrived from San Jose midway through the 2003-04 season, it didn’t take long for fans to declare the trade that sent only a 2nd-rounder in 2005 the other way a steal for the boys in red. “Kipper” finished that year with 24 W, 4 SO, a 1.69 GAA, and a .933 SV% in only 38 games.
Since that sparkling debut, however, his goals-against average has increased and his save percentage has decreased each season. That’s four straight years of worsening statistical outputs.
With a Sutter structure back in place and defensively-skilled players like Bouwmeester and Fredrik Sjostrom now in the mix, the Finnish netminder has a great opportunity to prove his detractors wrong.
After all, he’s still the extremely-poised goaltender with sound positioning that most of the other 29 teams in the league would love to have between their pipes.
While he most likely won’t match the impressive numbers he posted during his first year in Calgary, look for Kiprusoff to buck the trend of declining stats en route to yet another 40-win season.
Although it may seem impossible that Kipper posted a career-high 45 wins in 2008-09 with career-low peripherals, he had help in the form of a sniper who has since moved on, leaving a question mark on offense.