Is there a goalie controversy emerging in Anaheim?


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.”

Habs claim Byron off waivers from Flames

Paul Byron
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Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.

Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.

(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)

Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.

Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.

Isles claim goalie Berube off waivers

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jaroslav Halak
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The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.

Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.

That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.

If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.

The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.