Anaheim, CA – The stats don’t lie, rookie free agent signee Viktor Fasth has been better than incumbent Jonas Hiller. Ever since Hiller suffered through what doctors to believe was to have been vertigo, he has not been a very consistent goaltender. He struggled mightily when he first came back last season. However, he did turn it around a bit towards the end when the entire team was playing well. But, that doesn’t erase how horrible he has looked at times.
It looks like Fasth will get the nod between the pipes tonight for the Anaheim Ducks. Before he came to the NHL, he was a standout in Europe. He accomplished something in the Swedish Elite League (SEL) that only two previous goaltenders have; win multiple goaltender of the year awards. The only other two have been New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist and former Tampa Bay Lightning Johan Holmqvist. We all know Lundqvist, however, Holmqvist is a bit harder to remember.
Back when Bruce Boudreau was the head coach of the Washington Capitals, he had a fair share of goalie controversies. So, he is use to not being sure who to name as his number one. Here’s what BB had to say so far about Fasth and the goalie controversy:
“[Fasth's] doing a good job. He’s doing what he’s supposed to do and that’s make coaches make tough decisions. Hilly is the guy that we’ve relied on. He played 73 games last year. But it’s a real pleasant surprise what Viktor’s doing. You look at Vancouver, who’s done the same thing. They wanted to go with Schneider and Luongo’s played the last four games. Carolina just switched back to Cam Ward after going with Dan Ellis for a couple of games. So it’s an interesting dynamic. But when you have two good goalies, you can afford to do that. And eventually the other guy gets hot and he takes over and does what he’s supposed to do.”
Fasth signed a one-year contract with the Ducks. Hiller has one year left on his current contract after this season. Both of them are 30-years-old. So, there is a chance that neither goalie is a long-term solution for this position for the Ducks. That role right now is arguably in the hands of prospect John Gibson. Maybe even Frederik Andersen, who is currently in Europe getting plenty of playing time.
One final thought about this controversy, the team is winning. Right now, it hasn’t mattered too much how the goalie has played, whoever it is. But, the statistics have to be in the favor of Fasth at this point. Hiller is a grizzled veteran by now. He should know what it takes to be a no-doubt-about-it number one goalie. However, it is important to remember that Fasth has only played three games and Hiller has 255 career games. So, let the debate begin! #FasthVsHiller