Rumor Roundup: Ducks goalie depth means tough decisions for GM Murray

andersen186463970

Goaltending depth has played a significant part in the Anaheim Ducks’ 13-3-1 start this season. Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth combined for nine of the Ducks’ wins, while call-up Frederik Andersen (replacing the injured Fasth) won his first four starts.

Though Hiller (2.47 GAA, .908 SP) has played more games, Andersen (1.36 GAA, .952 SP) has better stats.

Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times reports Hiller’s eligibility for unrestricted free agency next summer could make him a trade target this season. The 31-year-old goalie said his preference is to re-sign with the Ducks but remains uncertain about his future.

The combination of Hiller’s free agent status and the presence of Fasth and Andersen has some pundits speculating he could be moved by the trade deadline. However, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau doesn’t consider Hiller expendable, citing the value of his experience.

Andersen and Fasth have yet to play an NHL post-season game, while Hiller has a 10-10 playoff record with a 2.31 GAA and .935 SP.

Given the Ducks’ strong start, they’re in no hurry to move a goaltender. When Fasth returns from injury, Andersen (who’s in the last year of his two-way entry-level contract) is waiver-exempt and can be returned to the minors.

Hiller’s future beyond this season is yet to be determined, but judging by Boudreau’s comments, the Ducks could decide to wait until the off-season to address it.

GABORIK’S CLOUDY FUTURE WITH THE BLUE JACKETS
Sportsnet analyst Chris Johnston reported Marian Gaborik has yet to engage in contract talks with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

An unrestricted free agent next summer, Gaborik is willing to be patient, but Johnston believes that “could ultimately lead him to a new destination.”

Johnston’s colleague John Shannon concurred, noting Gaborik is “a 40-goal man earning $7 million” and believes if he isn’t on that pace by the trade deadline “he will be gone.”

The 31-year-old winger has 11 points in 14 games this season, but enters this weekend with only one point in his past five games.

In early October, Gaborik’s agent informed Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson his client would love to stay in Columbus long term. Davidson told ESPN’s Craig Custance his club would wait and see how the season unfolded.

Though it’s still early in the season, the Blue Jackets enter this weekend having lost five straight games and seven of their last 10. If they don’t pull out of this slide soon, it could not only hurt their playoff hopes, but also have an adverse effect upon Gaborik’s future in Columbus.

WOULD THE DEVILS REALLY TRADE MARTIN BRODEUR?
Two weeks after Toronto Star columnist Damien Cox suggested New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur should consider moving on to another team, Rich Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger posed the question to Brodeur.

The 41-year-old netminder admitted he’d consider a trade, provided the Devils were out of playoff contention and GM Lou Lamoriello approached him by the trade deadline. He added his preference is to remain with the Devils and help them make the playoffs.

Brodeur also told ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun he would never ask Lamoriello for a trade. The long-time Devils goaltender has a no-trade clause, so Lamoriello would need Brodeur’s permission to move him.

Though in the twilight of his career, Brodeur’s leadership and decades of post-season experience could interest Cup contenders seeking goaltending depth by the March 5 trade deadline.

While Brodeur didn’t fully dismiss the possibility of a trade, he doesn’t sound keen on the idea.