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Flames Won’t Bring Back Hiller or Backstrom

Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving has confirmed that the club is set to part company with pending unrestricted free agents Jonas Hiller and Niklas Backstrom.

Hiller joined the organisation in 2014, signing as an unrestricted free agent after leaving Anaheim, with whom he’d spent the first seven seasons of his NHL career.

The Swiss puck stopper impressed during his first season in Alberta, posting a .918 save percentage in 52 games as the Flames defied expectations to qualify for the post season.

The 34-year-old faired less well this year however, going 9-11-1 with a .879 save percentage as Calgary struggled to find consistency between the pipes.

Hiller struggles, combined with those of Karri Ramo and Joni Ortio, lead to the acquisition of veteran goaltender Niklas Backstrom at the trade deadline.

The 38-year-old made three starts for the Flames, and one further appearance in relief, but also struggled to find a level of consistency, going 2-2-0 with a .881 save percentage.

Treliving faces some tough choices moving in to the off season. Ramo is also set to become an unrestricted free agent while 24-year-old Ortio is a restricted free agent.

Many believe Ortio can still become an NHL goaltender, despite less than stellar showings this season, but Calgary can ill afford to have another goaltending disaster if they are to consistently challenge for the playoffs.

Pending free agent James Reimer has been linked with the organisation, as has St. Louis goaltender Brian Elliott, who is still under contract for one more year.

There seems a strong possibility Treliving will need to assess the trade market, with a limited crop of free agent goaltenders available in July, but the Flames supremo is likely to be loathed to give up one of the organisations better prospects – though he may have no choice ultimately.

About The Author

Rob McGregor

A member of the InGoal Magazine family since 2014, Rob is also Media Manager for the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) in the UK and a former goaltender in Great Britain's third tier National League (NIHL).