The Calgary Flames are working with a tandem of backup Chad Johnson and starter Brian Elliott for the 2016-17 season – but after two consecutive poor starts for Elliott, it looks like the team is giving the former St. Louis Blues netminder a bit of a rest.
It was confirmed, via Kevin Woodley of NHL.com and InGoal Magazine, that the Flames plan to use Johnson in net for their third game of the season tonight. They’ll be taking on the Vancouver Canucks tonight at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia.
A native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Johnson has spent the majority of his pro career serving as a backup around the NHL. He’s spent time with the Boston Bruins, the then-Phoenix Coyotes, the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres, and now the Flames. Last season, he put up a .920 save percentage in Buffalo across a career-high 45 regular season games played, filling in for much of the year for injured starter Robin Lehner.
For Calgary, the move to acquire both Johnson and Elliott was made following a season with extremely poor goaltending from a trio of Karri Ramo, Jonas Hiller, and Joni Ortio. The poor start for Elliott, though – which saw the netminder allow a combined 10 goals in just two starts to kick off the year – could suggest that once again, the team will be struggling to compensate for a high number of shots allowed by the defense.
Johnson could just be giving Elliott a rest in what will be a back-to-back for the Pacific Division club. If he’s able to produce strong results, though, there’s a chance the club could look at splitting starts more evenly than initially expected heading into the regular season.
The Flames and the Canucks will be facing off at 7:00 PM PST Saturday night.