WAR HORSE - Christian Petersen
Our final positional preview of the season, is the easiest. Hiller is our man. God help us all if he gets hurt!
This is the easiest preview to write. No goaltending controversy here. We know who our number one goalie is and we have a pretty good feeling who his backup will be.
Jonas Hiller- The Man. At the first day of training camp, Bruce Boudreau reminded the fans and that last year Hiller played 34 games in a row. Similar to when he claimed on HBO's 24/7 that Chicago lost nine in a row during their Stanley Cup season, he wasn't exactly correct. Hiller "only" played 32 straight games last season, going 17-13-2. The point remains the same: The Swiss netminder is going to play A LOT and the 48 game schedule shouldn't be much of an issue.
Viktor Fasth - Hiller's likeliest backup was signed to a one year contract as a free agent on May 21, 2012. Fasth won the Swedish Elite League's goalie of the year award (the Honken Trophy) the past two years and was named 2010-2011 MVP (the Guldpuken, I love the Swedish language Bork! Bork! Bork!). The last player to do that was, none other than, Henrik Ludnqvist. At 30 years of age we're not expecting him to become Lundqvist, but he should be able to provide Hiller a break or two if he struggles, needs a break or, perish the thought, is injured. During the lockout Fasth went back to Sweden and put up fantastic numbers (1.68 GAA, .942 SV%) but only in 12 games before getting injured. Earlier in the week he was sent down to Norfolk to get some playing time in and gave up three goals in a 4-2 loss. As of this writing Fasth is still in Norfolk and may see some action in their weekend series against St. John's.
Jeff Deslauriers - Finished last season as Hiller's backup, though he only appeared in four games for the Ducks last season. Like Fasth, Delauriers was sent down to Norfolk this week for in game conditioning. He has not played in a game since the end of last season. Interestingly, Deslauriers did not partake in the first day of camp until the main sessions were over, and only came out later to take shots from the youngsters who spent extra time on the ice with the assistant coaches. Bob Murray made it clear early in the summer that Fasth was signed to back up Hiller this year, so Deslauriers will act as insurance for injury and will try to push Frederik Andersen for the number one spot in Norfolk.
John Gibson - American Hero, aka The Future. He earned his call up to camp with his stellar performance at the World Juniors where he won gold with the USA, was named the tournament's top goalie and overall MVP. There was zero chance of Gibson making the team at the tender age of 19. He was invited to camp just to get a taste of what it's like in the big leagues, before being sent back to the OHL's Kitchener Rangers, but the kid is on his way.
Frederik Andersen - The huge Danish goaltender has cemented himself as the number one in Norfolk this season over Igor Bobkov. Through 21 games with the Ads, Andersen has put up decent a 2.48 goals against and a good .924 save percentage. With Fasth and Deslauriers in the AHL for conditioning, Andersen will most likely backup Hiller for the first few games until they are up to game speed.