Let’s crank the blades on that NHL trade rumor mill, yeah? I’m hearing a new name on the radar of the Avs as a potential new backup goalie for the final portion of the regular season and into the playoffs: Calgary Flames netminder David Rittich.
CASE FILE: DAVID RITTICH
Contract situation: On expiring deal, UFA next year, $2.75 million cap hit.
Career record: 63-39-15, .908 saves percentage, 2.83 goals-against average.
THE SKINNY: Rittich actually was asked about whether he was worried/concerned/aware about any trade rumors involving himself a couple days ago, by a Calgary reporter and he did NOT like the question.
“Don’t try and make a story here. This is my team and I want to stay here as long as I can,” Rittich said. “I’m not even looking at the trade deadline. So, that’s all.”
Calgary has a goalie, Jacob Markstrom, who has this year and three more years on his deal, at a $6 million cap hit. It would make perfect sense for the Flames to trade Rittich, given that they almost certainly won’t make the playoffs and he’s a UFA at the end of this season. Does anyone seriously think the Flames will give him a fat new long-term offer, with Markstrom already on their books?
Markstrom has been a disappointment this year for the Flames, in the first year of a rich new contract. He’s probably the guy the Flames might want to trade, more than Rittich, but good luck with that, on that contract.
BOTTOM LINE: Rittich would make sense for the Avs as the new backup to Philipp Grubauer, but they can’t overpay too much for a guy who could then leave for nothing after the season is over. But otherwise, the Avs really do need a more viable, competent backup goalie for the stretch run and playoffs and Rittich would fill that bill. Some knowledgable Flames watchers say he’s been better than his numbers indicate.
By the way: if he comes to the Avs, he’ll need to get a new number. He currently wears No. 33 for the Flames.
Also, one potential snag to this deal: Rittich, because he plays in Canada, would have to serve a one-week quarantine before even being able to play here. The Canadian government had been requiring 14 days until recently, but cut it to seven.
*Does that seven-day rule apply to players from Canadian teams to the U.S. too? I’m actually not positive on that, but I think a quarantine of some kind is still required.