Jonas Hiller joined the Calgary Flames as a free agent in the off-season. He had been cast off by the Anaheim Ducks in favour of youngsters like John Gibson and Frederik Andersen. He was pretty motivated to perform well in Calgary.
Overall, you could say he did pretty well.
Last season, the Flames had a lot of instability in net. They went through a ton of goalies in a single season, and when you don’t know who’s gonna be in net – or how they’ll perform – it can hurt the entire roster. The idea behind bringing in Hiller, an established goalie, was probably two-fold. First, you (at worst) get a good veteran goalie who can back-stop the team. Second, maybe having somebody better than Reto Berra would push Karri Ramo to perform better.
Here’s a comparison of Ramo and Hiller’s rolling 5-game save percentages.
In terms of the three areas of scoring chances (high-danger = slot, medium-danger = home plate, low-danger = everywhere else):
- Low-Danger Save Percentage: 97.0%
- Medium-Danger Save Percentage: 93.2%
- High-Danger Save Percentage: 85.0%
All three of those were better than Karri Ramo’s. And when you compare Hiller to himself historically, his .926 even-strength save percentage is right in the midst of his usual .924 to .931 range. (He dipped to .914 in 2011-12, but that seems to be a big outlier based on his career.)
On the whole, Hiller had a good first season in Calgary. He rarely got lit up. He was generally pretty consistent. He was pretty cool under pressure. And he stole a couple games for the team early-on, which really helped provide the team with some confidence – most likely when guys were jumping into the rush.
Hiller is signed for another season for $4.5 million. I’d think long and hard before abandoning him, particularly if the choice is between him and Karri Ramo. Ramo’s good, but he’s streakier than Hiller, and I think Bob Hartley’s tendency to lean on Hiller more than Ramo over the season may be an indication that they had a bit more confidence in the veteran Swiss netminder over his Finnish counterpart.