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With next to nothing happening in the hockey world this month, I thought this would be as good of a time as any to profile members of the Calgary Flames.
I'll be commenting on their performances last season as well as projected role and expectations moving forward. I've profiled nine Flames thus far, with Johnny Gaudreau being the most recent
Today we're going to take a closer look at David Rittich.
45 games played, 27-9-5 record, .911 save percentage
.929 save percentage, .848 high-danger save percentage, 9.37 goals saved above average
There were some hiccups along the way, as there is with any goaltender, but Rittich's first season as a legitimate platoon option was definitely a success. His save percentage jumped from .904 to .911 in a year where goals were up, and goaltender's numbers were down, league-wide. He was solid on the surface.
When digging a little deeper, and taking special teams out of the mix, Rittich was nothing short of fantastic. His .929 save percentage at 5v5 was near the top of the league and on par with that of John Gibson, Frederik Andersen, and Andrei Vasilevskiy. That's excellent company to be keeping.
Unfortunately he hit a bit of a rough patch down the stretch, which is why he didn't get to start vs Colorado come playoff time, but on aggregate the good certainly outweighed the bad. He took a big step forward and gave the team reason to be optimistic about him moving forward.
Rittich finished with a higher 5v5 save percentage than the likes of Tuukka Rask, Carey Price, Henrik Lundqvist, Braden Holtby, Sergei Bobrovsky, Devan Dubnyk, and Carter Hart.
Bill Peters used Rittich and Mike Smith in a platoon last season. The starts ended up being fairly evenly split between the two, however, Peters showed a willingness to give a little more rope to the hot hand throughout the year. I expect him to run things the exact same way next season. Even if one goaltender is outplaying the other, I don't think Peters will dump too many starts on one guy at a time where it's becoming abundantly clear workload management is key to having success down the stretch and in the playoffs. If your starter is overworked, you're probably not going to go very far.
While I don't expect Rittich to win ~66% of his decisions again, I do think he'll win his fair share playing behind what should again be a strong Flames team – especially if he is able to come close to matching last season's 5v5 numbers.
numbers via naturalstattrick.com and hockey-reference.com
2019 player profile: Johnny Gaudreau
2019 player profile: Mark Giordano
Top-5 defensemen 22 & under?
Top-5 wingers 22 & under?
Top-5 centers 22 & under?
Top-5 defensemen in the Western Conference?
Top-5 wingers in the Western Conference?
On the Milan Lucic trade