Posts Tagged ‘Jonas Hiller’

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.


The first game of the pre-season produced three noteworthy results. In order of importance going forward those are:

1. Selanne/Silfverberg are developing great chemistry. Via Adam Brady,

“You can see right away, he can see the game so well,” Selanne said. “So if you get open, the puck is going to come. Same with him. He has a great shot, and we tried to feed each other. Every day is a process.”
Added Silfverberg, “We’ve been practicing for about a week. Teemu is very easy to play with. He’s such a skilled guy. He’s good at finding open spots, he’s good with the puck, and good at giving goals. [It’s] a lot of fun playing with him.”

2. Scoring from the backline. Sami Vatanen scored. UFA pickup Nolan Yonkman netted a short- hander.

3. Last but not least, two vets tempered any irrational exuberance following the easy win. Teemu said, “All the guys worked hard but we don’t get too high about this.” Andrew “IronMan” Cogliano reminded everyone, “”It’s still preseason and the first game.”

Taking our cue from the vets, we merely note with one eyebrow raised that our guys started the game fast, potting 3 goals on their first 3 shots. But we won’t read anything in it.

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Ducks have some interesting parts and pieces. Everybody makes tangible and intangible contributions. This post is about the latter. In this post we’ll identify some of those intangibles and pose the question; Can this Ducks team come together and realize it’s potential?

After a great short season, our Ducks entered the playoffs with great expectations that were quickly dashed by the Detroit Red Wings in a thrilling series. Consequently, Coach Boudreau has defined this campaign as “Unfinished Business.” It’s a great goal defining mantra designed to motivate the players both individually and collectively. Identifying Bruce Boudreau’s most impactful intangible is so easy. It’s his humanity.

To understand the humanity in Gabby take a look at how he honors 9/11.

Gabby’s personal unfinished business is playoff success and get the most from his own personal OT game.

You could have knocked me over with a feather as I read Francois Beauchemin will probably start the season just 4.5 months following reconstructive knee surgery. Beauch is the kind of man whose respect other men aspire to earn. This man played through serious injury to become included in the Norris Trophy conversation. A feat even more amazing when one considers Beauchemin isn’t unanimously considered a top pairing D-man. He’s also not thought of as a heart and soul player though his heart and soul is his greatest single intangible contribution to the team.

Ducks best players, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are just entering their prime. Getz having earned his way into the Hart Trophy nomination. Pears has already earned the MVP award.
Bob Murray, at the urging of the Ducks captain, has reunited The Twins with their Cup team line-mate, Dustin Penner. Pancake appears committed to get a career that seemed to waiver off track during his two seasons with the Kings. Will returning to Anaheim do for Penner what it did for Teemu Selanne?
What was once the Kid Line on our Ducks Cup team is now Top Line expected to lead the team back into the elite of the league.

There’s also a very impressive veteran contingent led by Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu. They will be joined at mid-season by Sheldon Souray. The contributions made by this group reaches far beyond their combined stats. They lead by example and the shared wisdom accumulated through a combined half century of NHL experience.

Ducks have a couple-3 other vets, Andrew Cogliano, Daniel Winnick and Bryan Allen who play an accountable and responsible brand of hockey. Cogs is an NHL Iron Man who can play all three forward positions and in any situation. He is our Ducks Swiss army knife. Contributions of Winnick and Allen are best measured in the reluctance of opposing players to battle position or the biscuit.

The cherry may well be the youth contingent that is made up of 8 guys well positioned to take the loosely defined next step in their respective careers.
Cam Fowler, Nick Bonino, Jakub Silfverberg and Kyle Palmieri. All four are counted upon to make significant offensive contributions.
Level-headed and well grounded, Emerson Etem will continue to play ES and PK. He will have to start scoring to earn PP time.
Peter Holland, Patrick Maroon and Sami Vatanen will be given an opportunity to establish themselves as bonafide NHL players.
If there’s one guy who needs to play with desperation, it’s Luca Sbisa. Only 23, Luca has 5 NHL seasons and 236 regular season games behind him. In all that time he hasn’t established himself as much more than a 3rd pairing, spot played D-man. It wasn’t that long ago many of Bob Murray’s Kool-Aid drinkers were predicting Sbisa would make us forget Chris Pronger. He doesn’t need to be great but he does need to become consistently accountable and responsible.

The aforementioned 8 most represent the affirmation “Unfinished Business.” They bring the naivety, passion and energy of youth.

Vying for spot duty are role players Matt Beleskey, Mark Fistric, Devante Smith-Pelly and Brad Staubitz.

Backing the guys up is arguably the best goalie tandem in the NHL. Each of Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth have earned the trust and respect of their teammates. Having trust in your goaltenders is quite possibly the single most impactful intangible benefit.

Steve Whitney has been catching the eye of many bloggers early in camp. Speed is eye-catching and Whitney floats around the rink at mach speed. He isn’t likely to make the show this year. Conversely, Rickard Rakell has failed to make a positive impression anyone during the first half week.

These Ducks might well be a year or 3 away from finishing their unfinished business. They do have a broad range of complimentary skill sets on the roster. Additionally, they have depth to replace the various parts lost to retirement or diminished skills internally.

In this sense, these Ducks are organizationally structured similarly to our Cup winning team that prospered with 9 sophomores on the roster.

We may have even finally replaced Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer though it will have taken 5 D-men to do it. Fowler and Vatanen for Nieds and Souray, Beauchemin and Allen for Pronger.

The talent is there for these Ducks to push themselves into NHL elite status. The questions are; will it all come together? Will they remain healthy? Will they peak in the playoffs?

Summer is what former Kings GM Dave Taylor called hockey’s financial season. We agree. With money and contracts in mind, we take a look at our Ducks following the Bobby Ryan trade.

Conventional wisdom dictated that if our Ducks were to move Ryan it would be for a 2nd line center, not cap room. If we have come to expect anything from Bob Murray it’s that he is unconventional. In his post trade interview, Murph said “Anytime you can upgrade and make your hockey team better and stronger and deeper, you try to do it….”

Ducks are definitely deeper but the better and stronger parts remain to be seen. Murph didn’t mention team speed but we’re definitely faster regardless of who replaces Ryan.

Cap Status:

In the hours following the Ryan trade, Saku Koivu re-upped for one year at $2.5m about a million less than his previous stipend. Obviously, he left money on the table. Today, Ducks announced RFA Matt Beleskey has inked a 2 yr commitment reportedly to be for $2.7m.
Kyle Palmieri and Teemu Selanne remain unsigned as of this writing. Murph did say he expects to chat with Teemu sometime next week
Per CapGeek, Ducks have 22 players signed with $7.84m in cap space. Palmieri and Selanne will likely cost in the $4.5 -5m range, leaving nearly $3m in the cap float. This represents some hard-earned flexibility going forward.

The Roster:

Coach Bruce Boudreau sets his forward lines identically to how previous coach Randy Carlyle did. Gabby sets two guys together and rotates a third in and out, up and down the depth chart. At the moment, he has exactly two sets of two forwards, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry; Saku Koivu and Daniel Winnick. Everything else is to be determined at camp.

Nick Bonino, Peter Holland and Rickard Rakell resume their competition for the two open center spots. This year they could be pushed by Antoine Laganiere and William Karlsson.

At LW, Emerson Etem, Matt Beleskey and newcomer Jakub Silfverberg will each get an opportunity to make The Twins twosome a go to threesome. Patrik Maroon will also get a look. The Twins enjoyed Devante Smith-Pelly and gave him lots of encouragement two seasons ago. DSP shouldn’t be ruled out of the mix but he is a long shot to break into the top six at this point. Max Friberg will be looking to make an impression.
Kyle Palmieri is currently RFA and will certainly compete for the top spot if and when signed.

On RW Corey Perry is a lock on the top line. Pencil in Andrew Cogliano to remain alongside Koivu/Winnick on the checking line. This leaves two spots open. Emerson Etem and Matt Beleskey can play either wing giving Coach options. Devante Smith-Pelly and Brad Staubitz will be looking to earn some TOI. Newcomer Stefan Noesen is eager to move up and could but he’ll probably start the year in Norfolk.

On the back line Ducks will enter camp with a top 7 vying for spots. Write in Francois Beauchemin and Cam Fowler as next season’s TOI leaders. Ben Lovejoy earned a spot among the top 4. Sheldon Souray will keep his role on the PP but could see reduced TOI in ES situations as the season drags on.  Bryan Allen, Luca Sbisa and Sami Vatanen  will compete  for #5-6 spots. Hampus Lindholm could make that decision very difficult.

Ducks are loaded between the pipes with Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth. Rookies Frederik Andersen , John Gibson and Igor Bobkov will likely compete for spots in Norfolk.

Trade bait:

One of Hiller, Fasth or Andersen. Andrew Cogliano, Luca Sbisa.


1 top six center, 1 top four D-man


Unless a great trade opportunity is presented look for our Ducks to open camp with the current roster. Those who fretted our team had become top heavy are probably having a cow since the Ryan trade was announced.

This team will be in serious trouble if Ryan Getzlaf doesn’t dominate from puck drop in October. A slow start will be a disaster not only on the ice but also reflected in the revenue streams occurring at the gate, on television and in merchandise sales.

Ducks fans can and should expect more from Corey Perry and Cam Fowler in the stat department. Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri look ready to produce 20+ goal seasons. Andrew Cogliano, Saku Koivu, Jakub Silfverberg and Matt Beleskey, Nick Bonino and Peter Holland must provide consistent secondary scoring.

Any additional scoring we get from the blueline and the depth forwards is a bonus.

The goaltending is strong and can overcome defensive lapses and give the team a chance to win most every night. Each of Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth has shown the ability to steal a game our guys really didn’t deserve to win.

Overall it’s way too soon to make a projection or prediction.

If our Ducks have any interest in Mike Ribeiro they may want to bypass him, his agent go directly to the Mrs. Following the Caps announcement that they wouldn’t extend the point a game center, the Mrs. tweeted “Nothing like being uprooted from your home for no apparent reason” As if that didn’t fully convey her passion she add the hashtag #pissedbeyondbelief. As everybody knows or will learn eventually, if Momma aint happy, ain’t nobody gonna be ha-ha-happy.
Ribeiro 33 is reportedly looking for a contract similar or better than his just concluded 5 years at $5m per.
Ducks would have to move a salary in order to accommodate the gritty center. At this point in their respective careers, Ribeiro brings more to the table than Vincent Lecavalier who the Ducks met but passed on.

Caps also announced D-man Jeff Schultz will be placed on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying him out. The 27-year-old enjoyed his best years under Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau but has fallen out of favor with Gabby’s successors Dale Hunter and Adam Oates. Schultz is a big, physical stay@homer.

Other D-man waived today include now former Avs Greg Zanon and Matt Hunwick. Neither brings a skill set or level that should interest our Ducks. One who does however, Hal Gill at 37, may or may not fit a team looking to get younger and faster on the back line.

Another center considered not as pricey as Ribeiro or Lecavalier is Detroit’s Valtteri Filppulla. The native of Finland is also not as physical but he does play a responsible two-way game. Anaheim has two good reasons, Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu, every Finn wants to play here.

GM Bob Murray previously showed some interest in the recently well-traveled Derek Roy. He’s just the kind of guy who could contribute to Murph waking up one day one day and realizing, “All of sudden we’re a small team.”

Florida Panthers would like to keep Stephen Weiss but all seems quiet in Miami. Still, he’s another slick, smallish center who does put up points and helps those around him be better.

GM Bob Murray admitted what this blog reported last week. He was getting calls about the availability of Bobby Ryan and Jonas Hiller. With the focus shifting toward pending UFA’s Nathan Horton and David Clarkson, more than a few will come back a calling next week.

Ducks needs haven’t changed, first on the list is a second line center followed by a top 4 D-man. And yes, one of Bobby Ryan or Jonas Hiller would be moved if the right opportunity is presented.

With the Entry Draft just a day away the blogosphere and twitterverse is burning  bandwidth by the terabyte. The big stories of course involved compliance buyouts both executed and terminated. As you probably know, Vincent Lecavalier, Ilya Bryzgalov and Danny Briere are the big buyout names. NYR announced they won’t buyout the remainder of Brad Richards contract.

For all the chatter and buyout action, amazingly, only one trade has been consummated so far. Calgary sent Alex Tanguay and Cory Sarich to Colorado for David Jones and former Duck Shane O’Brien.

Not saying Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller is in play but his name has surfaced in mainstream media stories. Unlike how they handled the recent spate of Bobby Ryan trade talk, Ducks have been quick to put the word out that they haven’t shopped their No. 1 goalie. Whether Ducks are just getting smarter about it or it’s an admission that they actually shopped Ryan is open for speculation.

I go with the former. Bob Murray has always played his cards very close to his golf shirt. He tends to ignore local media and favors the global hockey media for announcements. Jeez, he even gives more to the L.A. Times than he does to the OCR or Orange County and Inland Empire media.

Pierre Lebrun is reported to have tweeted that Hiller is available for the “right price.” The right price is a solidly established second line center. Teams reportedly interested in Hillsy include the St. Louis Blues, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders.

The Blues are an intriguing trade partner. Especially when we think in terms of an old school blockbuster hockey trade. Blues are similar to our Ducks in that they see themselves as one player away from making a push for the Cup. They thought they had that piece in goalie Jaroslav Halak but have serious doubts after Halak’s injury riddled season. Brian Elliott is too inconsistent to be trusted in a starter role. Newcomer Jake Allen is too inexperienced.

The Blues have the pieces to acquire both Bobby Ryan and Jonas Hiller. Much of their north of $16m in cap space will go to Alex Pietrangelo. But, they have an opening on LW following the retirement of Andy McDonald. They’ve shown a willingness to part with RW T. J. Oshie but Ducks are loaded on RW. Would they part with 2nd line center Patrik Berglund? Kevin Shattenkirk? Alexander Steen? Hiller for Berglund straight-up?

Islanders have the solid and heady playmaker Frans Neilsen who has established himself as their second line center playing behind John Tavares.

Ducks have long coveted Flyers Sean Couture and Brayden Schenn. So far Philly GM Paul Holmgren has been reluctant to trade either. Would he part with one for a proven goalie? Flyers have certainly been challenged between the pipes in the past two decades.

Another intriguing idea following a Darren Dreger report that the Bruins could move Tyler Seguin. The young Seguin went second in the 2010 draft after the Oilers took Taylor Hall. You might recall the whole Tyler or Taylor debate. Apparently, Seguin isn’t happy playing on the wing in Boston. Additionally numerous state Nathan Horton has informed the Bruins through his agent that he intends to test free agency. Might we see a swap of 2nd overall picks Ryan for Seguin?

There’s certainly much chatter around our Ducks and it involves Bobby Ryan and/or Jonas Hiller. Will Murph pull the trigger for a second line center? TSN is tracking the chatter faster than I can bring it to you. You can follow it here.

Update: Ben Lovejoy has signed a 3 year contract with our Ducks. L.A. Times Helene Elliott and OCR reporter Eric Stephens are reporting it to be a $3.3m contract. Many had him leaving while this blog only reported that the sides were still talking. Another example that you can trust this blog to keep the facts from getting in the way of speculation.

Holy cats this scrunched season has been difficult on this blogger. Can’t thank yougetwhatyouputin enough for his help during the season. No sooner do we come down from the SCF and wham we head straight into Entry Draft weekend.

The Gossip Girls are having their fun. Generating site hit stats with unfounded rumors and speculation that our Ducks are about to trade Bobby Ryan and/or Jonas Hiller.

In news you can take to the bank, OCR’s Eric Stephens is reporting that our Ducks don’t intend to use any compliance buyouts this summer. From other sources I’ve picked up that Murph is presently negotiating with Saku Koivu on a one year contract. He’s talked with Ben Lovejoy’s agent but there’s nothing to report as of this posting. Toni Lydman has probably played his last game in a Ducks uni. Our Ducks will wait for Teemu’s decision but there’s a soft deadline of July 5, the day pending UFA’s become available.

With compliance buyouts already making Danny Briere and Vinny Lecavalier available Ducks are forced to pass on those opportunities due to lack of cap space. Ducks are most likely to look to their young, Sami  Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm to win jobs on the blue line. Emerson Etem, Kyle Palmieri, Peter Holland and Devante Dmith-Pelly to firmly establish themselves on the Ducks roster.

As to the draft, our Ducks pick 26th in the first round followed by the 45th, 87th, 147th and the 177th pick in subsequent rounds. Our Ducks will not be picking in the fourth or seventh round. The second round pick at 45th overall is the NY Islanders pick and our part of the Lubomir Visnovsky trade.

It is highly likely that all of our picks in this draft will play in the AHL, Major Junior A, NCAA or in of the European elite leagues next season. It is highly unlikely a pick in this Entry Draft will make the NHL coming out of camp. As such, I’ll wait to see who we pick rather than burn bandwidth on kids who will be a couple-3 years away from getting their mail C/O the Honda Center.