Question 4. Many goaltenders when coming to Calgary don’t quite have the season they had with their former team (e.g. Jonas Hiller and Brian Elliott). If goaltenders who have had great seasons come to Calgary and have bad seasons, is the goaltending coach the problem? Or the actual goaltenders? Should we say bye to goaltending coach Jordan Sigalet?
I believe it is the goalies. I’m sure Sigalet does everything he can to prepare the goalies but sometimes, especially with Hiller and Elliott, I’ve noticed some ridiculous lapses in judgment that led to weak goals. As far as being technically sound, sure the goalie coach can help improve that, but ultimately it is the goaltender that has to execute.
Sigalet should only get so much blame. Jonas Hiller was past his prime as a true number one by the time he arrived in Calgary. Brian Elliott was also a disappointment in Colorado and Ottawa. Was he great in St. Louis? Sure, but that team has a strong defensive system in place where any goalie can look good. Calgary hasn’t had a true number one starter since Miikka Kiprusoff retired four years ago. That’s on team management, not Sigalet.
This is going to lie on both guys, the goaltenders and Sigalet himself. Starting with Sigalet, he has seen both of the Calgary Flames goaltenders regress. In the 2014-15 NHL Season, both Karri Ramo and Jonas Hiller combined for a 0.915 Save Percentage. The following year, that same tandem combined for 0.894 Save Percentage. Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson both averaged a 0.910 Save Percentage this year. This level of mediocrity partially lies on the goaltending coach.
Now it also falls on the men tending the goal as well. Lets not forget how solid Jonas Hiller was in his first season in Calgary. 2.36 Goals Against Average to coincide with a 0.918 Save Percentage. For a guy who was seemingly heading in the twilight of his career, this is a stellar year. His second season in Calgary was a disaster, to be polite. His Goals Against Average inflated to an abysmal 3.51. And his Save Percentage dropped off a cliff from 0.918 to a 0.879. That is an alarming rate of regression.
Brian Elliott saw a steep drop off in his game as well. He rebounded to salvage a 0.910 save percentage before seeing his game toil in the playoffs. A goaltender who showed an elite level of consistency in St. Louis, that same level was on some nights not there. This rests partly on the player, and the coach too. Early on in the year, there were noticeable holes in Elliott’s game and his positioning was poor. While it was cleaned up as the regular season carried on, this was something that Sigalet could have picked up in early October and tried to fix.
This partly resides on the shoulders of the coach, as well as the players too. These are professional athletes we are talking about, they should know their games well enough to tweak things around.
Yeah I definitely agree with Jonathan and Alex here. The coach can only have so much of the blame. Like Alex said, Hiller was already past his prime when he came here. And as much as he helped Anaheim in the playoffs the year before, they had a much different team and at that point, much stronger defence.
Dan also brought in some good points with the changes in the same goaltenders, just different seasons. It’s hard to put the blame on the goaltending coach in that case. I say for now, there isn’t much of a reason to let him go. Let’s just hope that whichever goaltenders the Calgary Flames go with next season, we don’t see as much struggles early on like we saw this past season.