The Anaheim Ducks saw their surprisingly strong season come to a disappointing end. Though there are plenty of positives that come with grabbing the no. 2 seed in the Western Conference, even if the season didn’t end the way that they would have liked. However, this is a team that still has some questions on their roster.
One of those questions is whether or not this club is set with Jonas Hiller as a no. 1 goaltender. We know they have the offensive talent to contend for a championship, and, to a lesser extent, the defensive core. But do they have the chops between the pipes to lift the Cup in the near future?
The Ducks rolled through the 2013 season with a combination of Jonas Hiller and rookie Viktor Fasth in goal. During the regular season, Fasth actually outplayed Hiller for the majority of the regular season, but come playoff time, the Ducks chose to go with the veteran in net.
Jonas Hiller is still a very solid goaltender in this league. However, after spending a great deal of time prior to last year trying to recover from symptoms related to vertigo, he hasn’t been able to regain that form that he had shown previously. His numbers were decent in 2013, but a 2.36 GAA and .913 save percentage doesn’t scream elite, as his numbers once did.
During the playoffs, it was status quo off of what we saw during the regular season. He posted a .917 save percentage and a 2.45 goals against average. He made some big saves, but was never overwhelmingly impressive in net. In close games, a higher level from him could have made a difference in the Ducks advancing or going home like they ended up doing.
Though he didn’t see a minute of time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Viktor Fasth actually outplayed Hiller for the majority of the regular season. As the two split time, he sported a 2.18 GAA, .921 save percentage, and four shutouts in 23 starts. Not bad for the first year goaltender.
It will be interesting to see how the Ducks manage their goaltenders next season. If Hiller is traveling through a full season at the same average level he spent much of 2013 at, could Fasth get more time? Could he end up stealing the job and getting a shot in the postseason?
This will be a storyline to watch for the Ducks next season, especially for a team that isn’t going to see too much as far as roster changes over the course of this summer.