Flames Claim Joey MacDonald

Kent Wilson
February 11 2013 10:47AM

 

joey macdonald

pic Via Alfred Reloaded

Word on the twitter is the Flames have claimed Detroit Red Wings backup Joey MacDonald off of waivers. The 33-year old has bounced around the majors and minors over this career, most recently with Leafs and Red Wings. With 100 games of NHL under his belt, MacDonald is definitely older and more battle-tested than either Irving or Taylor. On the other hand, his career SV% of .903 in the show and only marginally better results in the AHL suggest he probably isn't much better than the rookies.

This suggests a couple of things:

1.) Kipper is out for longer than what the team is letting on.

2.) The guys in charge aren't terribly confident in either Irving or Taylor to carry the ball.

Point number two is fair, although I'm not sure how or why Joey MacDonald adds much comfort. Sure he's older and has more experience, but that additional information has told us he's really not all that good a goalie. The only thing I can really stick this decision to is the typical anxiety decision makers get in handing over meaningful minutes to untested commodities like the Flames current goaltending duo. 

The addition of MacDonald also means the club is scraping up against the 50-contract ceiling (49). That's not a terribly big deal right now, but does cut down on the org's flexibility should other issues or opportunities pop up later.

Expect one of Taylor or Irving to get re-assigned to Abbotsford as early as today in response to this move.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#51 Alt
February 11 2013, 01:03PM
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Damn ,I was hoping that Taylor would get a chance to play,but doubt that will happen now.

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#52 SmellOfVictory
February 11 2013, 01:08PM
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@Rain Dogs

Rask and Schieder are legit #2 goaltenders in the same way that Malkin is a legit #2 centre; they're absolutely starting goaltenders who are/were backups as a result of circumstance.

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#53 Chillout
February 11 2013, 01:09PM
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@McRib

You may be confused(jeremywilhelm), particularly if you are talking about the first practice after they signed Taylor. That wasn't him, that was the camera man for flames tv (Mitch Nybo)that got lit up badly. They threw some pads on him since they had no backup that day. The flames definitely have no faith in him being their goalie. Could be why he's a camera man.

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#54 the-wolf
February 11 2013, 01:10PM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

Rask and Schieder are legit #2 goaltenders in the same way that Malkin is a legit #2 centre; they're absolutely starting goaltenders who are/were backups as a result of circumstance.

I think that was his point. At least, that's how I took it.

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#55 Subversive
February 11 2013, 01:12PM
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backburner wrote:

Ok... so who's getting traded?

Crossing fingers it's Kipper at this point. Long shot, I realize.

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#56 icedawg_42
February 11 2013, 01:12PM
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Maybe they want to instill more of the Red Wings' "winning pedigree" into the dressing room. Listen to the way Hartley gushes over Hudler. And if you dont believe in that kinda stuff, look how they boys hit the skids when all that losing pedigree came in from the Leafs. - Jus' sayin'

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#57 jeremywilhelm
February 11 2013, 01:31PM
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@Chillout

No. It was Taylor they were talking about.

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#58 CDB
February 11 2013, 01:32PM
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TheRealPoc wrote:

Am I really the only person here who thinks of the 8 goals Irving's let in over 2 starts, the majority of them were pretty friggin' soft?

I honestly do not understand how those goals can be viewed as soft but everyone has their own perception. Maybe the 2nd one in Columbus and possibly the 5th in Vancouver (I might be thinking of 4th). Otherwise point blank tips/shots and rebounds. He made several highlight reel stops.

Really thought he was earning some confidence. This move is surprising to me

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#59 CDB
February 11 2013, 01:39PM
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Rain Dogs wrote:

Little surprised in the lack of faith shown after a Vancouver game that could have been 10-1 had he not stood on his head.

There will never be a goalie stat for "it could've been 10-1" and once collective amnesia sets in... people will just look at his save percent. If it's not good (like in that game) he's a sieve.

There is an un-addressed statistical disconnect between what the team does in front, and what a goalie gets on the score sheet that doesn't exist for players. GlenX doesn't get a "should have scored 5", Iggy doesn't get a "skated 60% as hard as he should have"

Agreed which is part of my problem with advanced goalie stats. And I am generally a fan of advanced stats. Chris Osgood stopping 25 shots behind lidstrom and the rest of the hall of game destined redwings gets lumped in with the high percentage scoring chances a goalie behind a weaker team gets exposed to. Shot quality gets ignored, shot quantity is quantified

You cannot honestly say after that fan that he is browsed as a seive based strictly on goals against. Stats are great but they have to be used along with watching the game.

Hockey isn't baseball where the play is reset and circumstances are duplicated time and time again with each pitch from a mound and defense in position. Quality of shots or scoring chances clouds save percentage numbers.

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#60 kittensandcookies
February 11 2013, 01:42PM
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Maybe Feaster was hungry and thought he was getting a contract with McDonald's the fast food chain.

I suppose the move is insurance in case another goalie gets injured.

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#61 Jibmeister
February 11 2013, 01:49PM
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Completely unnecessary.

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#63 SmellOfVictory
February 11 2013, 02:11PM
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the-wolf wrote:

I think that was his point. At least, that's how I took it.

In that case I'd have to diagree; no backup should have expectations that great placed on them. They just have to not be terrible (unfortunately for the Flames, most of their backups have been terrible).

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#64 jeremywilhelm
February 11 2013, 02:17PM
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Millions said that Kipper isn't even practicing with equipment on, so assuming he is gonna play on Wednesday is a bit of a stretch.

I would assume Taylor gets waived soon and they go with a Macdonald/Irving tandem.

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#65 suba steve
February 11 2013, 02:40PM
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jeremywilhelm wrote:

Millions said that Kipper isn't even practicing with equipment on, so assuming he is gonna play on Wednesday is a bit of a stretch.

I would assume Taylor gets waived soon and they go with a Macdonald/Irving tandem.

You don't think that the Flames may benefit from starting Taylor in at least a single game? I'm not so concerned with how he plays in practice when he has proven, at the AHL level, that he is superior to Irving. Brust also. If Irving is #3 in Abby it is not a big leap to assume that Taylor could be given a start over Irving without sacrificing in netminder quality. Now I can't second guess what they will actually do, but to say that they can't afford to start Taylor over Irving (or MacDonald) just seems overly cautious.

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#66 Tach
February 11 2013, 02:50PM
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I am as confused as many by this move. I understand the "facts" about the Flames goaltending situation as follows:

1. Kiprusoff is hurt. When he might come back is currently unknown.

2. MacDonald is unassignable to Abbotsford as a waiver pick up. He will be on the NHL roster the rest of the year.

3. Neither Taylor nor Irving have particularly endeared themselves to the Flames hockey operations department as a capable alternative. This is inferred from the fact that Irving was waived in training camp and Taylor, notwithstanding pretty good stats in the AHL, was only signed to an NHL deal when there were essentially no other options for a back up to Irving.

4. MacDonald is a replacement level NHL goaltender. He has played enough pro games to determine this.

5. No one is sure whether Irving or Taylor are replacement level, or better or worse, NHL goaltenders.

Based on the above, the best possible light I can put on the above is:

1. If the Flames know Kiprusoff is coming back sooner than later, they wanted someone, anyone, other than Irving or Taylor to play back up. As MacDonald is replacement level, that means the Flames brain trust sees Irving and Taylor as sub-replacement level goaltenders. Bummer.

2. If the Flames know Kiprusoff is going to be out shorter as opposed to longer, that means the Flames think at least one of Irving or Taylor (and possibly both) is a sub-replacement level goaltender. I guess we find out which one depending on who dresses/gets assigned after this Minnesota game.

Am I missing something here? I can't imagine Taylor, Irving or their teammates have come to different conclusions. Tough day for those guys.

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#68 Kurt
February 11 2013, 02:58PM
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I don't understand the MacDonald thing.... Unless Feaster thinks Irving is THAT bad. I mean MacDonald isn't a replacement for Kipper long term. So if Kipper is hurt for a while, lets say 3-4 weeks wouldn't that be the nail in the coffin on a short season?? Feaster is looking pathetic, desperately hanging on and grasping for straws.... He had no plan for Kipper going down and now we have three backup goalies (best case scenario).

What will it take for this team to stop thinking about the next 2 weeks and starting thinking about the next 2 years....

5-1 Wild tonight.

#No Winnin for McKinnon.

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#69 RKD
February 11 2013, 03:04PM
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Kipper is due to come off the IR soon, I think Wed. and could potentially be ready for the Dallas game but I don't he will start. Hopefully the injury isn't worse.

This move smells of panic by the organization, after the thumping in Vancouver probably gave upper management more reason to not trust Irving.

MacDonald backed up Howard and Osgood in the past, he may not be a great goalie but he might give us more stability that we have had in the past. Probably couldn't get a Bernier without having to give up good return.

If the mandate is to win now, can we be really surprised Feaster went for a veteran guy. As soon as I read the article MacDonald was on waiver, I instantly thought "I wonder if the Flames will pick him up."

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#70 Peter
February 11 2013, 03:05PM
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At this point, I would've just let Noodles back in. Just as effective and you get back a locker room chum.

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#71 CDB
February 11 2013, 03:29PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

There are not really any advanced goalie stats. There are only goalie stats, which vary between somewhat useful and totally useless.

If you could simply watch goalies and predict their future performance based on the quality of shots you perceive they played through well...GM's wouldn't make so many mistakes when it comes to signing goalies.

Puck stoppers are tough. A bounce here or there and a good game becomes a terrible one and vice versa. I can tell you Kipper's best stretch of the last few years came last Jan-Feb, a time when the Flames weren't only giving up a lot of shots but a lot of quality shots as well. He has had other stretches where the shots against were no more or less difficult than normal (say, the start of this season) and he has given up bucket loads.

That's fair Kent and I agree with the difficulty it predicting goalies future performance. I maybe misread the classification of some of the goalies stats that are used in breaking down goaltender performances.

Interesting point about Kippers best stretch coming at time facing a lot of quality shots. I just find too often people compare the save percentage of a trapping, or defensively responsible team versus others. The fact of the matter it's not the same. When kipper was back bailing out Hannan, sarich and butler I would venture a guess they were better quality scoring chances than lindquvist wa facing behind staal, girardi, mcdonagh etc.

It simply doesn't match the test of watching the games. It's akin to having two hitters in baseball platoon, with one hitter facing david Pryce, verlander and sabathia, while the other hits off teams 4th and 5th starters. I use baseball because it has the most advanced statistics in sports. They might have the same amount of at bats but to say one hitter is superior because of abetter average would be false. I believe it's unfair to blast Irving for the Vancouver game. He was under a barrage. To simply point at his save percentage and say he's a sieve is not accurate. Sure there will be stretches like indicated with kiprusoff but only a far superioe goaltender can make up for discrepancy in quality of chances allowed versus save percentage over a large sample size. I feel there needs to be a factor of quality of shot or scoring chance taken into account before people can simply point to save percentage as the only indicator of a goalies performance

Appreciate your insight kent.

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#73 mattyc
February 11 2013, 04:07PM
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@Kent Wilson

Kent,

Since scoring chances have been tracked, have people tried to use a scoring chance save percentage for goalies? If nothing else, it would be interesting to see if there is any significant variability.

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#74 RexLibris
February 11 2013, 04:12PM
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I actually like this move. It addresses a need immediately, and if MacDonald is only a Flame for two weeks or a month before going back through waivers, then he serves his purpose.

Personally, I would take MacDonald over Taylor, and perhaps over Irving. My biggest question now is how will MacDonald adjust to a different goalie coach with Malarchuk?

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#75 Baalzamon
February 11 2013, 04:13PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfXyEmG6loo

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#76 jeremywilhelm
February 11 2013, 04:24PM
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Malarchuk is gonna be pissed off if Irving gets waived.

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#77 CDB
February 11 2013, 04:30PM
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Interesting Kent appreciate it.

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#78 RexLibris
February 11 2013, 04:35PM
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Very nice. Are you suggesting that Feaster is operating by coin toss? A fascinating hypothesis and one that isn't entirely outside the realm of possibility. And yes, I said that entire sentence in my Professor Farnsworth voice in my head.

Good News everyone! Joey MacDonald is going to pilot the ship for your next delivery into the heart of the Sun.

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#79 Baalzamon
February 11 2013, 04:37PM
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I wanted to get the quote "well, that was pointless", but I couldn't find a video that had it.

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#80 Tach
February 11 2013, 04:44PM
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I think this is right, but if true it also means that the Flames don't rate the ceiling for either of Irving or Taylor very highly. This is a non-issue for Taylor who was otherwise destined for an AHL career if not for Kiprusoff going down.

For Irving, it is pretty much a write off. Unless Kiprusoff is out long term and MacDonald replaces Taylor on the big team's roster.

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#81 Tach
February 11 2013, 04:46PM
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I am too lazy to wade through the CBA right now, but I am pretty sure that since we claimed McDonald on waivers the Flames are not allowed to place him on waivers again to demote him to the AHL this season.

Kent?

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#82 Frank
February 11 2013, 04:49PM
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I'm flabbergasted that so many people are writing of Danny Taylor without seeing him play 1 minute in a Flames uniform! He was part of the strongest goaltending tandom in the AHL this season with Brust; and remember, he's the reason Irving was relegated to 3rd string for the Heat last year with his incredible play down the stretch! I'm so disheartened to be reading comments referring to him as waiver fodder. This guy has done everything to deserve his shot with the big club, and for some reason, Joey MacDonald is deemed the better option?!? Feaster needs to give his head a serious shake.

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#85 Jeff In Lethbridge
February 11 2013, 05:27PM
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this move makes perfect sense, given what's coming... but, I can't say anything about that, I promised...

PS - the flames play amazingly (and consistently) well in front of backup goalies... passing well, not running around, not allowing shot after shot from the slot, paying attention to detail, skating hard... defensively responsible, yep, they do. Really. Uh huh.

I bet goalies get goosebumps thinking about playing back-up in Calgary, just for sheer joy and excitement.

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#86 RexLibris
February 11 2013, 07:05PM
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For Kent and Tach

The waiver thing is more or less unchanged with players having to go on rosters a step above (claimed on waivers into the ECHL have to go to the AHL at least, similarly with the NHL), and players who then get re-sent through waivers are open to first pick by their former team, just as Taylor Chorney was between St. Louis and Edmonton last season.

The biggest difference is that if MacDonald were to clear waivers to Abbotsford in a week's time or so, and then the Flames recalled him, he would not have to clear waivers. The re-entry waiver eligibility has been removed. In other words players can get picked up off demotions but not promotions, the idea being that teams are then more likely to give opportunities to young players because they know they can get them to the roster and teams aren't going to be pirated in an emergency by predacious waiver claims.

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#87 Colin
February 11 2013, 07:15PM
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I am in the camp of this move makes no sense, unless the plan is to give Irving one more shot before being shown the door. You have two pretty well maybe backup goalies on your roster because you had no plan to address your goalie situation for the last 8 years. I get that Macdonald is more 'experienced' and older, but he's been underwhelming everywhere he's been.

Why doesn't this team give Taylor a shot, or hell it could have been Brust, take a look and see what you got. Course this is the Calgary flames, doing things like that is scary, they'd rather lose with an experienced guy that go balls deep with rookies. This is a management team that SCREAMS playing it 'safe'.

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#88 thymebalm
February 11 2013, 07:41PM
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I'm starting to think that "Flames play terrible in front of backups" concept is a myth.

Are we sure it's just not a series of bad backups that make the Flames look bad? After all, they've all yielded the same results.

I'm starting to believe it's a lack of a capable puck stopper, not that the team just decided not to show up for the backup.

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#89 Chris
February 11 2013, 11:47PM
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I can't figure this out either. The only way this makes sense to me is this: * The Flames had to sign Taylor to an NHL contract. * This means that when Kiprusoff returns, they really have to send one of Taylor or Irving down, which means they have to waive the one that they send down. * If they pick up MacDonald, they can pull the same double-waiver trick they used in training camp: put two goalies on waivers, on the theory that anyone desperate for a goalie will only take one. Then they can reassign the other one.

In the reasonable worst case, they still have four goalies: two for the NHL and two for the AHL.

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#90 smtorsch
February 12 2013, 10:15AM
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Maybe Feaster told someone in his staff to "pick up McDonald's on the way over" and they thought he said "pick up MacDonald on waivers"?

^^^^^ Seriously, that joke must've been made a hundred times yesterday, right?

Brust is still on an AHL-only contract, right? There's nothing that would prevent another NHL team from signing him and giving him a shot in the show, right? What are the odds Toronto takes a shot with one of the AHL's hottest goalies as a stop-gap while Reimer is out?

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#91 Rain Dogs
February 12 2013, 09:42PM
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@SmellOfVictory

It's not really a matter of placing expectations. It's a matter of pursuing continuous improvement and assessing assets. To assess a goalie, he's got to play (especially a young one.) If he cannot play because Kipper takes the load, then you need to find someone who has played at this level and you can have some confidence in, but even then, you gotta play him.

Fishing for some dude in the SEL cause he's tall and then having him sit on the bench doesn't tell you what you've got. Then when you find out it's too late. If the Flames had a goalie who was a very good back-up, Kipper wouldn't have to play so much, right? Unless we think there is no other goalie in the league who is even close to Kipper's skill.... and that I doubt.

You don't neglect your fourth line center because you have Crosby, he still plays an important role even if he plays 1/10 the minutes Crosby does. Sure, goalies are per 60min, but it's the same principle.

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#92 Rain Dogs
February 12 2013, 09:44PM
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Word is Kipper is out at least another 2 weeks, and he does have a grade 2 MCL sprain (not a grade 1 as originally reported.

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