Well, Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley shouldn’t have to worry about incentive being an issue when deciding on a starting goaltender on a nightly basis next season.
After signing Karri Ramo to a one-year, $3.8 million deal late Tuesday night, just minutes before he could have become an unrestricted free agent, the Flames now have two veteran goaltenders who are looking to assert themselves as NHL starters.
And, oh yeah, both Ramo and Jonas Hiller are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents next summer. Talk about a nonstop tryout not just for the Flames, but the rest of the league.
The question now becomes whether Hartley and his staff can coax enough quality starts out of the two to get back to the playoffs after a surprising 2014-15 season that saw the Flames battle external skepticism and a crippling injury to captain Mark Giordano in March to reach the playoffs and upend the Vancouver Canucks in the first round.
What makes the goaltending situation even more interesting is that by the end of the second round of the playoffs -- a five-game loss to the Anaheim Ducks -- Hartley had turned over the starter’s reins to Ramo, who turned 29 on Wednesday.
There’s also 24-year-old Joni Ortio, who is on a one-way contract with the Flames, suggesting general manager Brad Treliving may be looking to move one of his three goalies at some point.
Does Ramo's strong turn against Anaheim give him an advantage over Hiller, 33, heading into training camp?
Possibly, but Hartley loves to ride the hot hand when it comes to goaltending, so both will get a chance. Which one will seize the moment? Will either?
Let’s just say there’s a lot riding on this for the Flames, who are already feeling optimistic with the addition of Boston defenseman Dougie Hamilton in a startling draft weekend deal. And there’s a lot riding on it for Hiller and Ramo, who will essentially be playing the entire season for their futures -- whether those futures are in Calgary or elsewhere.