The worst-kept secret in Calgary has come to fruition, as Mikka Kiprusoff, the Flames all-time leader in all the important goaltending categories, has officially retired, leaving a huge gap in the depth chart for the team.
Kiprusoff has been one of the most consistent pool goaltenders in recent memory, thanks to some incredible durability throughout his career and his athleticism, which certainly outplayed the team in front of him most nights. In the last nine seasons, Kiprusoff finished in the top 10 of pool scoring four times and finished in the top 30 four more times. It was only last season, where he found an injury and dropped his pool ranking significantly, due to a lack of time in the net.
In 2009, Kiprusoff finished as the pool MVP, winning the scoring title with 45 wins and 4 shutouts.
The Flames, looking to replace Kiprusoff, will have a few options in the wings. Career back-up, Joey MacDonald, will be in the fold, no matter what the situation, but it does seem unlikely that he would be their first choice for the starter. Karri Ramo appears to be the leading candidate, by word of mouth, but he will be challenged by both Reto Berra and Joni Ortio at camp. Ortio shone brightly at the YoungStars tournament in Penticton recently, which may help his cause. Projections for the Flames goaltending will be reserved until some decisions are made in camp, but I can't imagine they will be too good, given the amount of experience that will be playing in front of them.