Miikka Kiprusoff, the Calgary Flames’ longtime goaltender from the 2000s decade to the early 2010s, will have his jersey number retired by the team on March 2nd, prior to their home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
He will be the fourth player in franchise history to have his jersey number retired, joining Lanny McDonald (no. 9), Mike Vernon (no. 30), and Jarome Iginla (no. 12).
Kiprusoff’s no. 34 was not re-issued by the team since his retirement after the 2013 season.
One of the greatest Finnish netminders of all time, he played nearly 600 games with Calgary, and his goaltending carried through an extended period of success for the Flames. He retired as the franchise’s leader in wins (305), shutouts (41), and games played (576).
Throughout his career, he recorded a 2.49 goals against average, a .912 save percentage, 44 shutouts, and a 319-213-71 career record in 623 games split between the Flames and the San Jose Sharks. In 56 playoff games, he stepped it up, with a 2.32 goals against average and a .921 save percentage, with six shutouts.
Kiprusoff was the winner of the Vezina Trophy and the William M. Jennings Trophy in 2006, the former for the best goaltender of the season and the latter for the fewest goals allowed that season. He also was named an NHL first-team All-Star that year.
He also represented Finland on the national stage many times, including the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. In the 2004 run, he posted a 1.48 goals against average and a .940 save percentage.
Kiprusoff Left His Mark with the Flames
In his time with Calgary, Kiprusoff was an absolute workhorse. He played at least 70 games in the eight years after the lockout of 2004-05, and was consistently sitting at or near the league’s top in most statistical categories.
However, it was the unlikely run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2004 which was the defining point of his career. Coming in via trade with the Sharks after a knee injury to Roman Turek, he played 38 games for them, recording a .933 save percentage and a 1.69 goals against average, the latter standing as an NHL record, which was good enough to get him second in Vezina voting despite the lack of playing time.
He carried on that regular season play to the postseason, where he took the Flames to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in seven games, upsetting the highly-favored Presidents’ Trophy winning Detroit Red Wings in six games, and downing his former team, the Sharks, in six games. In doing so, he became the first goaltender in NHL history to defeat three division winners in the same postseason, a feat in which only Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings would join eight years later.
Though the Flames ultimately lost the Final, Kiprusoff had a 15-11 record in the run, with a .928 save percentage, a 1.85 goals against average, and a league-leading five shutouts. For him to have his jersey number hung up at the rafters of Scotiabank Saddledome is a long-awaited and well-deserved recognition for one of the best to ever wear a Flames jersey.
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