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Is there a goalie controversy emerging in Anaheim?

Feb 6, 2013, 10:32 AM EDT

ViktorFasth

Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau has acknowledged that despite his team’s surprising 6-1-1 start — the Ducks sit second in the Pacific Division — he’s been faced with some difficult moments.

Namely, deciding which goalie to start on a nightly basis.

According to the Orange County Register, the Ducks have something of a goaltending controversy on their hands after newcomer Viktor Fasth jumped out to a perfect start (3-0-0, 1.30 GAA, .946 save percentage) while incumbent No. 1 Jonas Hiller has struggled (3-1-1, 3.54 GAA, .871 save percentage).

“[Fasth's] doing a good job,” Boudreau told the Register. “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.”

Fasth was something of an unknown commodity heading into this season. The 29-year Swede spent the majority of his career playing in Sweden’s lower-tier leagues before bursting onto the scene with AIK in 2010-11.

Since then he’s won back-to-back Honken Trophies, awarded annually to the top goalie in Sweden (the only other multiple winners are New York’s Henrik Lundqvist and former Lightning goalie Johan Holmqvist.)

In May, the Ducks signed him to a one-year, $1 million deal which essentially ended Dan Ellis‘ time in Anaheim and dispatched Jeff Deslauriers to the AHL.

Fasth’s been great in wins over Nashville, Minnesota and San Jose, but also has just three NHL games on his resume compared to Hiller’s 255.

That’s why Boudreau is taking a wait-and-see approach to the goaltending position for this season.

“You look at Vancouver, who’s done the same thing,” the coach said. “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.”

  1. hockeywithdrawal - Feb 6, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    Scratch ‘em both, give it to Gibson.

  2. gospitfires - Feb 6, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    sure hope this guy keeps getting starts. my goaltending tandom of holtby and schnieder on my fantasy team has been brutal, and will cost me my league title and the money i wagered along with it. how long can you keep trotting Hillier out there when he dosnt even have a save percentage over .900 in any of the 6 games he has played.

  3. esracerx46 - Feb 6, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    Hiller has been the starter for what 3 or 4 years? Anaheim has always had good goaltending, just the starter doesnt stick around for a while before the new kid on the block steps up. Bryzgalov, Giguere, now Hiller.

  4. dolanster - Feb 6, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    Hiller has been fine, his numbers just don’t look good. The coach is smart enough to use the goalie competition to his advantage, and I think you’ll see them go back and forth. Fasth has been solid, and the Sharks game an impressive win, but it’s not like he stole the game. The Ducks were strong and shut down SJ. Hiller isn’t about to lose the #1 job any time soon. Fasth is just doing his job — posting some Ws. Three NHL games do not a starter make.

  5. letsgopens8771 - Feb 6, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    I don’t know, Hiller has gone on stretches where he just is inconsistent. I wouldn’t say that it is a big deal because Hiller is still a very good goalie, but you do have to consider Vik Fasth being your full-time starter the way he has been playing as of late.

  6. fortwaynekomets - Feb 6, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    I want to know WHY Viktor Fasth isn’t wearing the half Orange goalie mask anymore?? He only wore it for his first game.

    That thing was badass.

    Maybe a vision problem?

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