Fantasy Hockey Coach - Hockey Pool and Keeper Hockey Advice - Viktor Fasth: the Late Bloomer

  • Viktor Fasth: The Late Bloomer

    By Travis Landry

    Team: Anaheim Ducks Contract status: 1 year/$1 million (2012-13)
    Age: 30 Height: 6’0 Weight: 198 pounds
    Style: Butterfly 2011-12 Team: AIK (Swedish Elite League)
    Strengths: Gritty Competitor Weaknesses: Small goalie & high glove

    Fasth’s journey to the NHL has been an unconventional one. Fasth, undrafted, had played most of his hockey in the lower divisions of Swedish Elite League. A virtual unknown until four or five years ago, Fasth slowly developed his game and made his debut in 2010 with AIK of the Division 1 Swedish Elite League.

    Crowned with the title of ‘the Best Goalie not in the NHL’, Fasth looks poised to make the transition to the NHL. In fact, his resume is a pretty good one. He is a two-time recipient of the ‘Honken Trophy’ which is awarded to the top goaltender in the Swedish Elite League. In 2010-11, he was also awarded the ‘Guldpucken’ trophy, being named MVP of the league.

    Take a look at his numbers in recent years:


    His big break internationally came when Swedish goaltender Stefan Liv denied invitation opening the door for Fasth to compete in the World Championships. Fasth stole the show at the 2011 World Hockey Championships. He led team Sweden to a ‘Finals’ appearance sporting an impressive 1.71 GAA, .946 Save % and 3 SO’s. The next year he continued his strong play at the 2012 World Championship paving the way for him to earn his 1st NHL contract.

    TSN Paul Romaniuk profiling his journey to the NHL at this past year’s World Championships.

    When the 30 year-old Swede signed a 1 year 1 million dollar (1 way) deal in the offseason with the Anaheim Ducks they bid farewell to backup goalie Dan Ellis. And when training camp begins in Anaheim, Fasth looks to compete with Jeff Drouin-Delauriers for a backup role. But, you have to figure The Ducks didn’t bring him across the pond to play in the AHL. Fasth will be given every opportunity to succeed unless he self-implodes in training camp.

    Fantasy Perspective: Obviously every goalie that makes the transition from the European game to North America doesn’t always pan out (see Jonas Gustavsson). But you have to remember that Fasth is 30 years old, making the transition much easier than say a 22 year old.

    A number of scenarios could play out with Fasth in the future. Much of his success depends on how Fasth starts out and if he can gain faith from Coach Bruce Boudreau. Boudreau was known for his goalie carousels in Washington with the likes of Theodore, Varlomov, Neuvirth, Holtby, and Vokoun. He tends to go with the hot hand at times.
    He could potentially push Hiller, forcing Hiller to elevate his game. Realistically one could expect the rookie to see 25 games in his 1st year with the Ducks. Hiller has not had a competitive backup to push him in a number of years. In fact, this could be the Ducks best goalie tandem since Bryzgalov and Giguere a number of years ago.

    The interesting part with Fasth comes in keeper leagues. He could be a low-risk draft pick on draft day or someone to target in trades. Keep in mind that Fasth becomes a UFA at seasons end. And if he does make a good first impression, he could parlay that into a starting gig with another NHL team in 2013-14.
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