The rumours have been floating around for a little while now… but It’s official…
The Calgary Flames have signed goaltender Curtis Joseph to a 1-year $1.5 Million contract.
Here’s the story, courtesy of NHL.com
The 40-year-old goaltender agreed to terms Monday, but the Flames waited until Joseph passed a physical before making the announcement. He’ll earn about $650,000 this year.
Joseph is one NHL victory shy of tying Terry Sawchuk for fourth all-time on the goalie career win list at 447. He went 18-31-2 with a 3.19 goals-against average and .893 save percentage with the Phoenix Coyotes last season.
He’s 446-341-95 in NHL regular-season games with St. Louis, Edmonton, Toronto, Detroit and Phoenix.
Joseph will relieve goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who has started 47 of 48 games.
The Flames sent rookie backup goalie Curtis McElhinney (0-2-0) to the AHL’s Quad City Flames on Thursday
Here’s a longer article from the Vancouver Sun:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – There always is – and always will be – a market for reliable back-up goalies.
But, with his star turn at the recent Spengler Cup, Curtis Joseph created bountiful buzz.
And he cashed in.
Forced to outbid a handful of other National Hockey League clubs, the Calgary Flames made an offer Joseph couldn’t refuse – a salary of $1.5 million US, which, pro-rated, becomes $650,000 for the remainder of the season – and landed the 40-year-old goalkeeper.
The Flames, curiously, refused to make an official announcement, which meant that none of their staff was available for comment on the matter.
Joseph’s agent Don Meehan, however, confirmed that the deal had been struck Monday afternoon. According to Meehan, Joseph, from Toronto, will fly to Calgary on Wednesday.
Asked if leading Canada to a championship at the holiday tournament had turned Joseph into a hot commodity, Meehan said, “Very much so. A lot of teams became interested after the Spengler Cup. He was a perfect fit for a lot of teams.”
Perfect for teams with one workhorse goaltender and Stanley Cup aspirations.
The San Jose Sharks, with Evgeni Nabokov in harness nearly nightly, dropped out of the Joseph sweepstakes. (“Geez, if Cujo wants to come here and sit on his butt for the next 40 games, fine,” San Jose coach Ron Wilson said the other day.)
But the Flames, who have leaned on Miikka Kiprusoff each game save one, saw a need – actually, two needs. With 23 straight starts – including tonight’s against the Nashville Predators – Kiprusoff needs a rest.
With the recent drop-off – when the Flames awoke Monday, they were seventh in the Western Conference – they need wins.
Joseph, then, has been determined to be a suitable stop-gap.
When the Flames return home Thursday, they’ll have 34 dates remaining.
How many starts will Joseph get? Four? Eight? Ten? More?
Even before the transaction was made official, Flames defenceman Anders Eriksson approved the measure.
“The rumour about Cujo . . . a great addition,” said Eriksson. “He’s a great goalie, still. He’s good in the room. He’s good with young goalies. If Cujo comes in, great. I think it’s a big, strong, huge addition to our team. He has a lot of experience both in regular-season and post-season. That’s something any team would like.
“And that’s what’s going on right now – a lot of teams want him.”
Including the New York Rangers, who reportedly had concerns about Henrik Lundqvist’s recent play.
The Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maple Leafs were also thought to be players in negotiations.
But winning out were the Flames, despite head coach Mike Keenan’s somewhat checkered past with Joseph.
The two men knocked heads during their days with the St. Louis Blues more than a decade ago. Keenan, in fact, was responsible for trading Joseph to the Edmonton Oilers.
After that, with the Maple Leafs, the Keswick, Ont., native was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy in 1999 and 2000.
All toted up, Joseph has made 913 NHL appearances, including 446 wins (one behind Terry Sawchuk for No. 4 on the all-time list), for five NHL teams.
His career goals-against-average is 2.78.
Additionally, he’s made 131 playoff appearances.
His most recent work came last winter with the Phoenix Coyotes, for whom he was 18-31-2 (3.91 GAA, with a .893 save percentage).
The result of Monday’s signing?
One Curtis in, one Curtis out.
In other words, rookie goalie Curtis McElhinney has a ticket to Quad City in his future.
But, with a week’s worth of scuttlebutt hanging over his head, McElhinney could have guessed what the end game involved.
“I think it’s tough for a young goalie like Mac, who’s worked so hard, to have to think about stuff like that,” Adrian Aucoin said Monday afternoon. “But he’s a pretty strong-charactered guy, so I don’t think it’ll affect him whether Cujo comes here or not. I know that he’s good enough that he’ll play. He wasn’t playing here anyway, so maybe it’ll be a good thing if it happens and he goes and plays some games. He’ll be even better when he comes back.”