The Calgary Flames will make modern NHL history with new goalie tandem

The Calgary Flames made one of the biggest moves in free agency this year by signing Jacob Markstrom to a six year deal.

Markstom was widely regarded as the best goalie option available, and the Flames are no doubt excited to add him to their roster. The carousel of starting goalies looks to have finally come to a halt, and Markstrom is a clear upgrade from Chad Johnson, Brian Elliott, Kari Ramo, Jonas Hiller, Joni Ortio, and the list goes on and on.

Backing up Markstrom will be David Rittich, the personable, fiery goalie the Flames brought over from the Czech Republic just a few years ago. In his two full NHL seasons to date, Rittich has run into injury trouble at the midpoint of each season, which cost him the starting gig in the playoffs both times. It’s unfortunate, but Rittich is extremely capable of being an elite goalie with his minutes managed.

Adding Markstrom is a huge boost especially with an expected shortened season, and the Flames look to have one of the best goalie tandems in the NHL.

How good exactly?

Well, in the modern NHL, and even dating back much, much further, no NHL team has ever had a goalie tandem where both goalies played in the previous year’s all-star game. The Flames become the first in this category with both Rittich and Markstrom representing the Pacific Division in last year’s game.

2020 NHL all stars line up at center ice prior to the skills competition

It’s a very specific situation made possible by the very unique goalie market this offseason. Because goaltending is such a volatile and unpredictable position, 20 NHL teams will have a goalie that has played in an all-star game at some point in their career.

That being said, they are not the only team to have two goalies who have played in the All Star game. The San Jose Sharks and Boston Bruins join the Flames as teams with two goalies that have all-star game experience under their belt, however in different years.

In fact, the current tandem in San Jose both played in the same all-star game in 2017.

ANAJohn Gibson (2016, 2019)
BOSTuukka Rask (2017)Jaroslav Halak (2015)
CGYJacob Markstom (2020)David Rittich (2020)
DALBen Bishop (2016)
EDMMike Smith (2017, 2018)
FLASergei Bobrovsky (2017)
LAKJonathan Quick (2012, 2016)
MTLCarey Price (2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2018)
NJDCorey Crawford (2015, 2017)
NSHPekka Rinne (2016, 2018, 2019)
PHIBrian Elliott (2012, 2015)
PITTristan Jarry (2020)
SJSMartin Jones (2017)Devan Dubnyk (2016, 2017, 2019)
STLJordan Binnington (2020)
TBLAndrei Vasilevskiy (2018, 2019, 2020)
TORFrederik Andersen (2020)
VANBraden Holtby (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
VGKMarc-Andre Fleury (2011, 2015, 2018, 2019)
WPGConnor Hellebuyck (2018, 2020)
WSHHenrik Lundqvist (2009, 2011, 2012, 2018, 2019)

Price is the current leader with six ASGs under his belt, with Lundqvist and Holtby close behind with five each. There are also teams like the Coyotes, where they have a goalie who was named to an all-start team but did not participate (Darcy Kuemper in 2020).

If last year is any indication, the Flames are in great shape in the crease moving forward. Time will tell if their reigning all-star netminders will play like all-stars this coming season.

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