Hiller: Final months with Ducks were ‘frustrating’

3 Comments

Jonas Hiller ranks as one of the most successful goalies in Ducks history, but how things finished in Anaheim left something of a bad taste in his mouth.

“I actually thought I had a great year up to the Olympic break and even after,” the new Flames goalie said, per the Calgary Herald. “It was a little frustrating there at the end with not getting to play a whole lot.”

Hiller, 32, did enjoy great success with Anaheim for a good chunk of last season. He was named the NHL’s third star for the month of December, second star of the week in January (which coincided with a personal-best 13-game winning streak) and received a vote of confidence from Ducks GM Bob Murray in late January, when Murray said there’s “no chance in [blank]” Hiller would be traded at the deadline.

After the Olympic break, though, things faltered.

Hiller struggled to reclaim his earlier form and, in early April, head coach Bruce Boudreau said the Swiss netminder was “really lacking in confidence.” Rookie phenom John Gibson was then given a pair of important late-season games (which he won, earning him a star of the week honor) and Boudreau opted to open the playoffs with Frederik Andersen as his starter.

The postseason was equally tough on Hiller. He replaced Andersen late in the Dallas series and closed out the Stars in Game 6, but lasted just two games into the Kings series before he was supplanted by Andersen first, then Gibson.

In June, Murray confirmed the club was moving on, severing a seven-year relationship in which Hiller climbed to third among Ducks goalies in games played (326), wins (162) and shutouts (21).

Now gunning to be the No. 1 in Calgary, Hiller says he’s happy to have the trust and confidence of management. The Flames inked Hiller to a two-year, $9 million deal on day one of free agency.

“I’m definitely excited to hopefully be able to play my best again and feel like everybody has confidence in me and trust in me,” he said. “I think it’s key for a goalie to be able to play at your best.”