Karri Ramo was selected with the 191st overall pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning, fast forward 10 years and Ramo is now sitting firmly as the number one goaltender in the Calgary Flames organisation.
After spending three more years plying his trade in the Finnish Elite League, Ramo would eventually make the move and debut for the Lightning during the 2006/07 NHL season. A move that would ultimately be short lived as Ramo would only make 48 appearances for the Lightning and subsequently return to Europe and the Kontinental Hockey League.
Calgary would be forced to rebuild following departures of key players in 2013 that had been the corner stone of the hockey club for over a decade, with a most notable omission in goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff. Jay Feaster, the Calgary General Manager at the time, had already moved to make this transition a smoother one.
With NHL rights traded to the Montreal Canadians, Ramo would find himself in a deal that would bring Michael Cammalleri, a fifth round pick and Ramo to the Calgary Flames in 2012.
It would be a case of going full circle for Ramo, as he would be reunited with Feaster who initially drafted Ramo back in 2004 to Tampa Bay.
After struggling with injury through the 2013/14 NHL season Ramo wouldn’t take hold of the top goalie position until late in the season, Ramo has now moved firmly into the top job.
Ending the season with a 17-15-4 record, Ramo got more comfortable and confident as the season progressed. This confidence from Ramo has also filtered through the Calgary Flames organistaion, with current GM Brian Burke reaffirming Ramo’s position within in the hockey club.
“The players like him because he battles,” said Burke.
“I think Karri Ramo has established that he deserves to come back here as the No. 1 goaltender.”
With players buying into the Bob Hartley way of hockey, Ramo seems no different. Battling and grinding their way to victory was part of Calgary’s success after the trade deadline, this success was carried largely on the back of Ramo, who only grew into the role as each period ticked over.
Calgary fans also seemed to feel more comfortable with Ramo between the pipes during the back half of the season, and with one more year remaining on his current contract, I don’t see any reason why Calgary wouldn’t ink the Fin to a new deal.
As fans now feel as though Calgary has finally found someone to replace the man they called Kipper.
While spending four years away in the KHL following his failed bid with Tampa Bay may have given Ramo everything he needed to get back into the NHL, Feaster joining Calgary in 2011 as GM might have been just as important.
Because 10 years on and the Flames have found themselves a new NHL number one.