Our Calgary Flames selected Joni Ortio with their sixth round selection, 171st overall, at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. With the success Finland born goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff was bringing the Calgary Flames at the time, trying to catch lightning in a bottle twice by drafting another Finland goalie made sense.
Ortio stayed in Finland until his North American debut in the AHL with the Abbottsford Heat on April 10,2011. The Heat lost 6-0. After spending the first nine games of the 2011-12 season with the Abbottsford Heat, Ortio was loaned back to Finland. End of the road for a sixth round draft pick right? WRONG!
February 3rd, 2014 after posting a 19-5 record with the Heat, Joni Ortio got his first call to the NHL. In 9 appearances with our Calgary Flames, Ortio posted a 4-4 record with a 2.52 goals against average (GAA) and a .891 save percentage (SV %). The GAA and SV % are skewed because in Ortio’s last start with the Flames (Friday March 21st, 2014) the Nashville Predators scored 4 goals on 13 shots causing him to be pulled mid-way through the game.
Here is The Hockey News breakdown of Joni Ortio:
Assets: Is supremely talented with enough size for the National Hockey League, and he has already displayed the durability and stamina needed to be a No. 1 goaltender.
Flaws: Must continue to learn North American shooters’ tendencies, as well as continue to make adjustments away from the Finnish Liiga. Also needs to play with more consistency.
Shortly after signing a two-year contract in which only the first year is two-way, Joni Ortio was quoted in the Calgary Herald responding to a previous Brian Burke decree:
At season’s end, Calgary Flames boss Brian Burke had declared that he wanted to see Ortio play a pile of games in 2014-15 — meaning a heavy workload for the goalie in the American Hockey League.
“I’ve got to disagree with Burkie,” Ortio said Friday from his home in Finland. “Not about the fact that I need to play a lot — he’s absolutely right about that. But my goal is to come into camp and steal a spot. It’s our business — younger guys trying to steal the old guy’s spot and his jersey.”
I do not see Joni Ortio starting the NHL season with the Calgary Flames. I am hoping that on ice success by the Calgary Flames keeps Joni Ortio in Adirondack for the entire 2014-15 season. The absolute best part about the Flames and however they decide to handle Mr. Ortio – – the Flames have Mason McDonald and Jon Gillies as insurance policies waiting in the system.