Curtis Joseph back in NHL with Flames

The Calgary Flames spiced up the Battle of Alberta by signing former Edmonton Oilers goaltender Curtis Joseph on Monday.

Veteran NHL netminder expected to give overworked Kiprusoff a break

The Calgary Flames spiced up the Battle of Alberta by signing former Edmonton Oilers goaltender Curtis Joseph on Monday, columnist Scott Morrison has learned.

The deal is for one year and $1.5 million US, a source told the Canadian Press.

Joseph, who spent the last two seasons with the Phoenix Coyotes, raised his stock in December when he backstopped Canada to a gold medal at the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland.

The 40-year-old became an unrestricted free agent last summer after not re-signing with the Coyotes.

A Flames spokesman would not confirm the signing Monday and said the team had no announcement at this point.

Calgary general manager Darryl Sutter reportedly beat out the New York Rangers, San Jose Sharks, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs — Joseph's former team — for the 17-year veteran's services.

With the Flames, he will be reunited with Mike Keenan, who coached Joseph in St. Louis in the 1994-95 season.

Keenan traded Joseph to Edmonton later in 1995.

With 52 points, the Flames are battling for a playoff spot and needed a veteran netminder to back up Miikka Kiprusoff, who has appeared in 45 of the team's 46 games this season.

Curtis McElhinney has played behind Kiprusoff for most of the season, but has only 131 minutes of NHL experience.

Keenan doesn't believe the addition of Joseph would upset or put added pressure on Kiprusoff.

"That's not an issue," Keenan told Calgary reporters. "It would take a bit of the workload off him [Kiprusoff] and he'd probably embrace that."

Last season, Joseph posted an 18-31-2 record with a 3.91 goals-against average and .893 save percentage in Phoenix.

The Keswick, Ont., native is a career 428-310-90 with a 2.76 GAA and 47 shutouts with St. Louis, Edmonton, Toronto, Detroit and Phoenix.

Joseph is one victory shy of tying Terry Sawchuk for fourth all-time on the goalie career win list at 447.

On Sunday, Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff each had a goal and an assist, and Mathieu Garon stopped 26 shots as Edmonton edged its provincial rival 2-1.

It marked the fifth win in six games for the Oilers, while Calgary fell to 22-16-8 with a third straight loss.

The teams will meet four more times this season with the next matchup scheduled for Feb. 4 at Rexall Place.

With files from the Canadian Press