Flames need backup goalie for star Kiprusoff

The Calgary Flames are, once again, in the market for a backup goalie.

General manager Darryl Sutter, in an interview Wednesday, confirmed Vesa Toskala — an unrestricted free agent who drew a salary of $4 million US last season — is not returning to the club.

Toskala, 33
, had been acquired at the National Hockey League trade deadline from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Curtis McElhinney.

“Vesa made it very clear that he wanted to be a (No. 1 goalie) or 1A in the league,” Sutter told The FAN 960.

Meaning the job as Miikka Kiprusoff’s understudy is vacant. Since the 2004-05 lockout, Kiprusoff has shouldered an awfully heavy load, starting 74, 74, 76, 76, 73 games.

In-house, there are three possible candidates to be his caddy — former first-rounder Leland Irving , Matt Keetley and David Shantz . Keetley is a restricted free agent, while Shantz toiled under an American Hockey League contract last winter in Abbotsford. Past backups for Kiprusoff include Roman Turek, Jamie McLennan, Phil Sauve, Brian Boucher, Curtis Joseph and McElhinney.

“The two toughest positions in the Calgary Flames,” Sutter noted, “are to play with Jarome (Iginla) and to back up Kipper because of the expectations.”

Also on Sutter’s plate is the NHL entry draft June 25 and 26 in Los Angeles. The Flames’ first selection is No. 64 (the third-rounder they received from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Anton Stralman).

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/sports/Flames+need+backup+goalie+star+Kiprusoff/3134453/story.html#ixzz0qTFiQKjf