Will the Calgary Flames Fill Goaltending Void Internally With Vladar and Wolf?

Arizona Coyotes v Calgary Flames
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Earlier today, the Calgary Flames made a blockbuster trade, sending goaltender Jacob Markstrom to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Kevin Bahl and a 2025 first-round pick. The pick is top-ten protected and Calgary will retain 31.25% of Markstrom's salary. This is a good trade for the Devils but who will be between the pipes on opening night for the Flames?

Flames search for number one may be short

With Markstrom, one of the best overall goaltenders in Flames history, now gone, the focus and attention goes to his replacement. As of now, Dan Vladar is the only goaltender with a contract for next season. However, Dustin Wolf is a restricted free agent. With a vacancy now in the Flames net, Wolf has to be re-singed. Wolf and Vladar are the two netminders who will receive the most consideration to fill the void in net.

Vladar went 8-9-2 for Calgary last season, posting a 3.62 goals-against-average and a .882 save percentage, harldy the numbers of a number one goaltender. Wolf went 7-7-1 with a 3.16 GAA and a .893 save percentage, not much better but an improvement.

The cap situation may be Calgary's saving grace, as they have $20.124 in projected cap space for the 2024-25 season. This would be enough to attract one, if not two, goaltenders to come in and fight for the spot between the pipes.

However, Calgary is in a place where they seemingly are rebuilding but trying to stay competitive. This makes sense as they may go with Vladar and Wolf between the pipes and use that money to improve the team around them with scoring forwards and offensive defensemen. Vladar and Wolf have had not much action in the past year due to Markstrom being between the pipes so this could be an opportunity for them to show everyone that all they needed was a chance.

Vladar and Wolf are not elite goaltenders by any means but they have been solid backups. The Flames still have high hopes for Wolf who is a solid goaltender and could develop into a starter, which could come in game one next season. Vladar had games last season where he was tremendous but many believe that he is not number one material.

Free agency is right around the corner and this will be a massive indication on where the Flames go with this goaltending void. If they sign a goaltender with number one stuff, Wolf may be the backup with Vladar finding a new team. If Vladar and Wolf remain the two choices, expect a fierce battle in training camp for the role of starting goaltender for the 2024-25 season.

Oliver Kylington, Connor Zary
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