Player Name/position: Jonas Hiller, Goaltender
Overall Grade: B+
Contract Status:Signed through next season at a salary and cap hit of $4.5M. Made the same in 2013.
2013 Stats: 26 GP, 15-6-4 record with a .913 save percentage and a 2.36 GAA. He recorded one shutout.
Playoff Stats: 7 GP, 3-4 record with a .917 save percentage and a 2.46 GAA. He recorded one shutout.
Offense:Any goalie that picks up a point in the playoffs is exceeding offensive expectations. Jonas also picked up an assist in the regular season.
Defense: Jonas is perhaps one of the most polarizing players at AC, and its due to his ability to make ridonculous saves or let in extremely soft goals. And while Hiller’s top-line numbers look rather pedestrian, a deeper look at the numbers show that Hiller was really victimized by the team’s awful PK. Among all goalies that appeared in at least 10 games, Hiller had the 7th best even strength save percentage in the league at .936, a number that topped several top flight tenders like Jonathan Quick, Henrik Lundqvist, Corey Schneider, Pekka Rinne, and others. Hiller’s crease mate, Viktor Fasth, finished about 20 spots lower than Jonas with a .926 even strength save percentage.
In the playoffs, some maligned Hiller’s performance in the latter half of the series, but the fact of the matter is that he was consistently hung out to dry by his defense. Hiller probably single-handedly kept the Ducks in the series after they peaked in Game 4. And while Jonas does have his faults, he came on very strong at the end of the regular season and showed in the playoffs why he can still be one of the best in the game. Moving forward, his biggest challenge will be finding a way to maintain his sometimes-elite level of play all of the time.
Highlight of the Season:Hiller’s best game of the season was undoubtedly his 23 save shutout against Detroit in Game 3. While the Ducks did pot 4 in the game, Jonas survived five minor penalties in the first 35 minutes of the game to keep things close before Nick Bonino finally broke through on the major penalty to Justin Abdelkader. Anaheim could have easily found themselves on the wrong side of the score after five minor penalties in just over half the game, but Jonas denied the Red Wings at every turn.
Expectations for Next Year: With the loaded goalie prospects in the system, it’s likely that next season will be Hiller’s last with the Ducks, if he even makes it that far. Viktor Fasth performed capably during the year and the team will not want to sign Hiller to another contract and possibly block uber-prospect John Gibson. The team still has some very real issues to address, and it wouldn’t shock me to see them use Hiller or another goalie prospect to address them. Right now, it’s probably the Ducks’ greatest position of strength as an organization. But whatever the Ducks decide to do, they have an incredibly solid and occasionally elite goalie in Jonas. I’d love to see them hold onto him for next season and make a deep playoff run so that he can sign a mega contract with someone like Philly.