Christmas in July aka the day free agency opens for the NHL. That is when Jonas Hiller signed a two year, nine million dollar contract to play for our Calgary Flames.
President of Hockey Operations for the Calgary Flames Brian Burke originally brought the undrafted Hiller out of Switzerland’s top league in May 2007 to play for the Anaheim Ducks. In a neat little factoid, Hiller’s first NHL game was against the Los Angeles Kings in London, England.
Here is the Associated Press story via ESPN story explaining Anaheim’s decision to allow Jonas Hiller to become a free agent:
The Ducks’ decision to part ways with Hiller means they’ll head into next season with a new starting goalie for the first time since 2009.
Hiller made an All-Star team, won a playoff series and consistently backstopped the Ducks through several seasons of frequently terrible defensive play in front of him, going 162-110-32 over seven years.
But the Swiss netminder lost his starting job late in the regular season to Danish backup Frederik Andersen, and he played infrequently in the postseason while the Ducks went with Andersen and 20-year-old John Gibson, widely considered the top goaltending prospect in hockey.
From the 2003-04 season through the 2012-13 season, Calgary Flames fans were treated to the goaltending services of Miikka Kiprusoff. Kipper finished his 12 year career with a 2.49 goals against average and a .912 save percentage.
Through 7 years in the NHL, Jonas Hiller has posted a career 2.51 goals against average and a .916 save percentage.
Hiller reportedly had his appendix removed mid-July. All reports are that the tri-lingual goalie (German, French, English) should be ready for camp.
Here is The Hockey News analysis of the goalie I am very excited to welcome to Calgary:
Assets: Is an extremely positional netminder with great size. Excels in high-pressure games. Possesses quick lateral movement and plenty of confidence in his butterfly style. Shakes off bad goals (and games) well.
Flaws: Tends to be badly exposed when his positioning fails him. Gets beaten upstairs when he goes down to his knees too early. Has had to deal with vertigo issues in the past, though he appears to be over them now.