Aug 19, 2011, 4:35 PM EDT
Jonas Hiller was having one of the better seasons by a goalie in the NHL last year for the Anaheim Ducks when a battle with vertigo submarined his season in February. After the All-Star Game in Raleigh, Hiller played in just three more games the rest of the way for the Ducks. While the Ducks did make the playoffs with Dan Ellis and Ray Emery holding things down in goal, they were knocked out in the first round by the Nashville Predators leaving the Ducks to wonder if their fortunes would’ve been different with the All-Star goalie in net.
Heading into training camp this fall, all thoughts in Anaheim turned to whether or not Hiller would be ready to go for the Ducks this year as his battle with vertigo raged on. As it turns out, Hiller has been training well at home in Switzerland and will be ready to go come mid-September when Ducks training camp begins as he’s finally symptom free.
Said Hiller: “I’m very excited about the upcoming season. I’m happy to be feeling better and looking forward to getting back with my teammates. It’s been a long process, but I feel great and I’m ready to help this team win.”
For the Ducks this is a huge lift for them as their hopes in the west will hinge upon Hiller’s health. Having Dan Ellis there as an insurance policy is nice, but he hasn’t thrived as a starter in the NHL. Having him as a backup goalie benefits the team much more and Hiller’s abilities in goal make the Ducks a much more dangerous team.
Last season, Hiller went 26-16-3 with a 2.56 goals against average and a .924 save percentage with five shutouts. Hiller also earned his first NHL All-Star Game appearance. Hiller makes the Ducks a team to contend with in the Western Conference and helps them keep up with the Joneses like Vancouver, San Jose, Detroit, and Chicago. Hiller is capable of being a Vezina Trophy contender just so long as he can stay healthy and involved. Now that he’s “the man” in Anaheim, they can’t afford to have him miss out on big chunks of time and his recovery from vertigo was of the utmost importance. Here’s to hoping his struggles there are over with.
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