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Fantasy Spin: Fasth can steal time from Hiller

by Pete Jensen

Viktor Fasth may be a newcomer to North America, but he's quickly found his niche with the Anaheim Ducks.

The Swedish Elite League standout signed with the Ducks in May and has made an immediate impact through his first three games at the NHL level. The 30-year-old improved to 3-0-0 on the young season after handing the San Jose Sharks their first regulation loss of the season on Monday.

Fasth's 25-save performance in that victory, coupled with strong showings in his debut vs. Nashville on Jan. 26 and his encore against the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 1, gives him a combined 70 saves on 74 shots faced to kick off this new chapter of his career in style. His stingy goals-against average (1.30) and save percentage (.946) trail only Craig Anderson for the League lead in both categories.

Viktor Fasth has made an instant impact between the pipes for Anaheim through his first three NHL games, dealing losses to the Predators, Wild and Sharks. (Photo: Getty Images)

He's become the fastest-growing commodity on the fantasy goalie market as of Tuesday morning, with his ownership in Yahoo! leagues soaring from three to 11 percent overnight.

Backup goalies around the League, most notably Tomas Vokoun, Johan Hedberg and Dan Ellis, have made headlines with strong efforts in somewhat consistent action because of the condensed season. But few thriving backups find themselves in a situation like Fasth, who actually has a legitimate chance to steal time from his starter, Jonas Hiller.

Hiller tied for the League-high with 73 appearances last season, but only mustered 29 wins in an underachieving year for the Ducks. He did put together an impressive 14-game stretch from Feb. 29 to Apr. 1 allowing three goals or less in each of those outings, but Anaheim was bogged down by its early-season struggles and ultimately missed the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

So far this year, Hiller (3-1-1) has surrendered four-plus goals in three of his five starts. He's won games thanks to goal support, but his erratic play has opened the door for Fasth to make a strong first impression on coach Bruce Boudreau. If Hiller's struggles mount, Fasth could make a case for more time between the pipes in Anaheim with continued success.

The fantasy verdict is still out on Fasth, who could fizzle out in his next few starts due to his lack of experience at the NHL level, but owners in deep leagues who lack goalie depth should take a flyer on this surprise story while they still can.


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