The Ducks made a pretty major move in bolstering their depth in net when they signed Swedish goalie Viktor Fasth to a one-year, one-way contract yesterday.
The 29-year-old Fasth played with AIK Stockholm this past season and had five shutouts with a 2.12 GAA and .931 SV% in 46 games. For his efforts, he was was named the Goaltender of the Year in the Swedish Elite League for the second straight year. The last player to do that? A guy named Henrik Lundqist (from 2002 through 2005).
The 6-0, 192-pounder also played six of Team Sweden's eight games in the recent IIHF World Championships, going a respectable 4-2 with a 2.34 GAA and two shutouts.
Fasth, who many considered to be the best free agent goalie in Europe, will be given the opportunity in training camp to be the backup to Jonas Hiller
. Fasth and and Jeff Deslauriers
are both under contract. Dan Ellis
, who missed most of last year with a groin injury, is a free agent. Iiro Tarkki
, who spent some time with the Ducks this past season (winning his only game) and led the Crunch to the postseason, signed a two-year deal with KHL team Salavat Yulaev last week.
“I’m really happy and looking forward to joining the organization,” Fasth said over the phone from Sweden yesterday. "It’s a dream come true for me. I’m really excited.
"The Ducks showed a real big interest. I had the feeling that they wanted to give me this chance and they believe in me. That is very important for me."
To learn more from Fasth, here's a video feature done on him during the Worlds
"I talked to the guys this year during the World Championships and started getting some information on how it is out there," Fasth said. "I asked how Anaheim is and I got just got words about it. It made me feel really happy."
Speaking of words, another intriguing part of getting Fasth in here is the endless possibilities for great headlines if he has a strong game. Granted, the name is actually pronounced "Fahst" but still, how about:
FASTH BEATS QUICK Ducks goalie shuts out Kings
FASTH AND FURIOUS
Rookie's 42 saves lead Ducks to winFASTH AND FLASH
Ducks netminder shuts down Red Wings as Selanne nets the game-winner
Got any good ones, Ducks fans? Put them in the Comments below or tweet them using the hashtag #FasthPuns
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Bruce Boudreau was a guest this morning
with host Mike Ross on Hockey This Morning on NHL Home Ice, and as usual had a few good nuggets to offer.
As hard as it is for all of us to see two Pacific Division rivals in the Western Conference Finals, he did have a good spin on it. "It gives you hope," he said. "When I was [with the Ducks[, we played Phoenix four times and beat them three times and lost the final game against them in a game where Mike Smith was Mike Smith. He was outstanding, but we outplayed them [this year] pretty badly. And they’re there where they are.
"With LA, we played them three times and beat them once in the last minute. We lost to them once with an empty net and once by one goal. You know that you’re competitive and right there. And we played them at times when they needed to win desperately."
That's one of the many reasons Boudreau has high hopes for next season. "I think we’re there. We’re close," he said. "And who knows, we get off to a little bit better start next season and I think we’ll be a team to be reckoned with."
Another reason for optimism are the young guys who will be given a good chance to make the Ducks roster out of camp next year. "Kyle Palmieri
led the American League in goals and he’s a guy who’s up and coming. We’ve got guys who can score that are young. Emerson Etem
scored 61 goals in junior, and he’s a guy who will be given a real good shot.
"We’re just looking forward to playing again. We think we can make a splash next year."
Boudreau was asked to reminisce about the time back in November when he was fired by the Capitals and hired by the Ducks not long afterward.
"We move around a lot, so we better have some strong wives and children behind us," Boudreau said about the coaching profession. "When it happened, to be able to get a job as quickly as I was able to was pretty satisfying. I didn’t know anybody on the team, and on the flight from Washington to California I’m sitting there going, “What am I getting myself into?” But it was great to see somebody had taken an interest and thought you did a good job. That was really neat."