When you’re the goalie that’s single-handedly carrying a team into playoff position, it can be an exhausting thing to do. Such is life for Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller and after playing in 47 of the team’s first 53 games he’s getting a break. The team announced today that Hiller was suffering from fatigue and that he would miss tomorrow’s game against Colorado. That means Curtis McElhinney likely gets the start against the skidding Avalanche and Timo Pielmeier will get the call up from AHL Syracuse to back him up.
For Hiller, his numbers have been outstanding this year but they’ve relied a ton on him to get the Ducks into playoff position this year. Through 47 games, Hiller has a 25-16-3 record with a 2.56 goals against average and a .925 save percentage. Hiller also leads the NHL in shots faced this season with 1,472, just 30 shots ahead of Carolina’s Cam Ward. That’s a ton of action for any goalie, but for Hiller it’s all come without much of a break. Hiller was also one of Anaheim’s representatives at the All-Star Game in Raleigh meaning that instead of getting a few days off, he was there participating in the weekend’s events.
If you’ve been wondering why Anaheim is apparently interested in free agent goalie Ray Emery, Hiller’s workload alone should tell you why. McElhinney has been a capable backup for the Ducks this year, but he’s not a guy you feel comfortable going to consistently. Emery, should he be totally healthy and ready to go, is a guy that can do that. If things go poorly tomorrow for Anaheim, expect the talks with Emery to pick up substantially.