Ryan Miller and Jonas Hiller were both opening day free agent signings by their respective teams. Miller reportedly received a three-year contract worth $18 million US to play for the rival Vancouver Canucks. Hiller signed with our Calgary Flames for a reported two years, worth $4.5 million per season.
The Calgary Flames regular season starts Wednesday October 8th hosting the Vancouver Canucks. The projected starting goaltending matchup will be between the Canucks Ryan Miller and the Flames Jonas Hiller. It will be the Calgary Flames first opportunity to show that they got the better goaltender at a better price.
Jonas Hiller has a career average .916 save percentage and 2.51 goals against average. The numbers are slightly better than Ryan Miller’s career .911 save percentage and 2.59 goals against average. More importantly, the numbers are a quantum leap over incumbent Flame starter Karri Ramo.
Ramo’s career numbers sit at an unimpressive .902 save percentage and 3.03 goals against average. Last season with the Flames, for the first time in his NHL career, Ramo posted a save percentage higher than .900 (.911). Ramo also posted his first sub three goals against average (2.65).
Is it unfair of me to anoint Jonas Hiller as Calgary’s opening day starter? Maybe, but I’m not suggesting going back to a Mike Vernon era and awarding Hiller 60 starts. I am suggesting that Hiller is the biggest free agent signing since Jay Boumeester in 2009.
Flames Coach Bob Hartley has shown he will play the hot hand in net. The Flames start the season playing back-to-back games twice. Games one and two are back-to-back and games four and five are back-to-back. With such a tough start to the season, both Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo will have a chance to grab the reins.
Official prediction: Jonas Hiller will give the Calgary Flames net a sort of Miikka Kiprusoff feel.