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.”