The Anaheim Ducks continue to be in a strong position, being positional strong in the most valuable of positions – goaltending.
Going five, maybe even six players deep, the Ducks find themselves in position that most teams would envy, but in the same position they are in they might be stuck with that depth, and see it fall apart the following season.
Starting at the NHL level, the Anaheim Ducks have both Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth, with Hiller having the track record and Fasth hit the league like a storm last season during the lockout shortened year. The two split time last year, but with a string of injuries to Fasth – it has been Hiller’s show in Anaheim.
With Fasth out, it has allowed another player to step in and shine behind Hiller, even outplaying him at times, Frederik Andersen. The 24-year old rookie won his first six decisions and currently leads all rookie goaltenders in wins this year with eight.
With so much depth at goaltender, a position that is the most valuable in the sport of hockey, it’s an easy thought to say that the Ducks should trade one to acquire added help elsewhere on the roster. But when it comes to trading goalies, there is a reason you don’t see it happen too often;
Any Team Who Is Contending Has A Goaltender
This is the main reason why goaltenders (at least of Hiller’s status) don’t get traded during the season. If you need a number one goalie, you are probably not in playoff contention, so it doesn’t make much sense to trade for one and give up a key prospect or draft pick.
Hiller could help a lot of teams, but the true contenders in the league already have a starting goaltender in place, and it would take an injury of that player to allow a trade to happen.
Determining Value On A Player Varies From Team To Team
What do Jonathan Quick and Reto Berra have in common? They are both starting goaltenders in the NHL. One is obviously elite, and the other is just breaking into the league but they can both be classified as starting goaltenders in the National Hockey League.
When you say ‘starting NHL goaltender’ the thought process of what that is changes from team to team. For every undisputed goaltender like Carey Price, Corey Crawford or Jonathan Quick – there is a Ben Bishop, and the aforementioned Berra.
The as the skillset of the starting goaltenders in the league varies, as does how each team evaluates and how much value is put into the position.
All though they have one of the best collection of young forwards, the Edmonton Oilers have put finding a franchise goaltender in the back burner, and they continue to struggle due to that.
While the Ducks’ might view Hiller as a true number one, that doesn’t mean that the other teams are going to see him as the same way. They could just as easily see him as a number two with a top goalies cap hit.
His contract status is another factor in which makes trading Hiller a difficult task for the Ducks. As a pending free agent, the Ducks will have a hard time to find a trading partner, an even more so one to give them justifiable value.
The Ducks have another name, however, that could be a perfect trade piece on a small but impactful later on in the season. Sometimes it is the trades that you don’t make or the trade that goes unnoticed during the deadline.
With the Columbus Blue Jackets now without their top two goalies, Sergei Bobrovsky and Curtis McEhlinney, depending on the extent of the injuries – they could look outside the organization to find help.
McEhinney has been listed day-to-day currently, but as it is in hockey, you can really never know how long that truly means.
Obviously Columbus isn’t going to trade for Hiller, but Andersen could be a perfect fit. He has shown he can stand alone as a number one goalie in brief stints, and has fit in perfectly behind Hiller as the team’s backup with Fasth out.
The return won’t be great, but there are slight needs the Ducks could use that could make a dangerous team a legitimate threat. With so many injuries, and their firm stance of not rushing John Gibson to the NHL, they might not even make a move.
If the Ducks weren’t in the position they are in currently, this would be an easy answer. Move Hiller at all cost, but with his success and the team’s success – the Ducks will have to let him walk without receiving any compensation.
But the depth of the team will shield that loss. If the Ducks decide to move a goalie, Frederik Andersen would be the best bet.
Anthony Murphy is the Editor at Pucks of A Feather. You can reach him by email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @AMurphyTFC.