Viktor Fasth represents the most serious challenge to Jonas Hiller since he showed management they could shed the salary of former Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe award winner J.S. Giguere.
Now it isn’t just Viktor Fasth that Hiller has to beat out. He also has to create a margin of such significance as to justify the $1.6m difference in their salaries. The main reason Hiller has to excel is Ducks appear to have another quality backup in Frederick Anderson and a future star in John Gibson.
It’s a fascinating confluence of pressure points heightened by the fact Hillsy is entering his contract year.
Thus far in his NHL career Jonas has met every challenge from the mysterious and little understood vertigo to his 73 game iron man performance in 2011-12.
This year he’s challenged by his health, quality competition on our Ducks depth chart to a very thin market for goaltenders, despite the obvious need of many teams.
It is just as easy to imagine Hiller traded on or before the deadline or leaving as a UFA, as it is to imagining him taking on all comers and having a career year.
It isn’t wise to bet against a guy with such a track record of rising to and thriving on challenges. While this one is daunting, I still would bet against Jonas Hiller.
Just like Hiller proved and a wonky hip proved we could move on from Giggy; it’s up to Fasth, Anderson and Gibson to prove we can move on from Hiller.
This is the brutal part of the business of hockey. You come to appreciate and respect a guy, like most of us did Bobby Ryan, and there comes a time when the best interest of the team is arguably, to move on.
Note: This post was drafted and published after reading this at Pro Hockey Talk. Factual reporting errors aside, I just didn’t think the story gave Hillsy his due. Wasn’t going to link it but google alerts is hyping it.