Jonas Hiller will return to the crease for the Calgary Flames on the road in Toronto tonight.
The Flames goaltender hasn’t played since March 3rd when he gave up 5 goals on 34 shots to the Buffalo Sabres. Joni Ortio played 7 games in a row after that, while 38-year-old Niklas Backstrom got his first start in over a year last night in Montreal.
“If I get the chance to play, I want to do my best, so it’s nothing really different” said Hiller this morning. “It has been a while. I’ll have to definitely be mentally ready and not feel too rusty.”
It will be a challenge for Hiller not to be rusty, having not played in almost three weeks. While the Leafs are an easy matchup on paper, they have surprised some teams of late, winning 3 of their last 4 games.
"His attitude is flawless. He’s solid. He works." – Bob Hartley on Jonas Hillerhttps://t.co/Mqm4FMpG4X
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) March 21, 2016
This is likely the farewell tour for Hiller, who is in the last year of a two-year deal that pays him $4.5 million this season.
With a .918 save percentage, Hiller was capable for the Flames last season, leading them to a playoff berth and a series victory over the Vancouver Canucks. This year has been a different story for the 34-year-old Swiss goaltender, who has posted dreadful numbers.
Hiller has posted a save percentage of .883 this season, which is one of the worst in the NHL.
Expect the Flames to go looking for a new number one goalie this offseason. Smart money is on them targeting someone like James Reimer, a pending unrestricted free agent who Brian Burke is familiar with from their days in Toronto together.