April 17, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth (30) blocks a shot against Columbus Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky (17) during the third period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Should Pittsburgh Pursue Viktor Fasth?


 

While it remains uncertain as to when Pittsburgh Penguins’ backup goaltender Tomas Vokoun will return, there’s still the question as to if he’ll ever play this season.

And although goaltender Jeff Zatkoff improved drastically in his most recent start, are the Pens’ willing to ride with him for potentially the entire season — especially if Marc-Andre Fleury has another postseason meltdown?

I don’t buy it.

The organization has no cap room to work with; however, if they were to ship a player that had an almost identical contract as the player they’d acquire, the potential maneuver could transpire.

One team that the Pens’ could talk to is the Anaheim Ducks about goaltender Viktor Fasth.

Continuing to promote Jonas Hiller as the starting netminder, the Ducks’ current backup goaltender Frederik Andersen has played magnificent in place of Fasth — who’s working his way back from the injured reserve.

With that being said, Anaheim might be willing to part ways with one of their goaltenders’ and Fasth would be a probable candidate because of his contract situation. Owing him $2.9 million for this season and the next, Fasth is making a considerable amount of money over rookie Andersen, who currently has proved can be just as reliable as him.

Who would the Pens’ give up in return you ask — defenseman Matt Niskanen.

I know it’s getting redundant when I say Pittsburgh will include Niskanen in any deal they complete this season, but his contract suggests it. Due to become an unrestricted free agent at seasons’ end, Niskanen is going to continue to be the top candidate to be moved because of the logjam on defense Pittsburgh’ has.

The 26-year-old former first-rounder is raking in $2.3 million for this season, and although that doesn’t match Fasth’ contract, Anaheim might be willing to take on say forward Dustin Jeffrey’s contract as well ($625,000).

Ducks’ defenseman Sheldon Souray is out long-term, and because Niskanen’s value is as high as it’ll probably be, it makes the deal plausible. Pittsburgh might have to include a draft pick as well to land Fasth, but in a long-term perspective, it’d be an important acquisition.

Knowing that General Manager Ray Shero has built a good relationship with Ducks’ General Manager Bob Murray over recent years, it only seems like rational speculation that a deal could surface. As Pens’ fans recall, the team acquired forward Chris Kunitz from Anaheim, and last year the team traded defenseman Ben Lovejoy to the Ducks as well.

The deal for Fasth all around seems like a relative discussion because even if Vokoun were to come back, there’s no telling how he’ll perform. And since his recovery is said to take 3-to-6 months, he might be out till the postseason, which leaves little room to get back into game shape.

For now the team will continue to evaluate Zatkoff’s future as their back goaltender, but I think for the postseason’s sake it’d be wise to look elsewhere.

 

Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Bradley-James Minoski

    They signed Fasth to a new contract last year I believe and he’s been playing very well so move on from that pipe dream.

    • Johnny

      Andersen is playing well, and they also have John Gibson in their system — they’ll deal one of them. Jeff Carter inked that brand new contract with Philly, didn’t stop that from trading him.

  • TomD

    Anaheim has multiple goaltenders who would be of interest to the Penguins, depending on what was offered in return. Fasth is certainly included on that list. I am not sure what Anaheim’s top needs are right now and how the Penguins matchup with those needs in trade.

    The Penguins need an experienced goaltender to back up Fleury, if not to be ready to play during the playoffs. Zatkoff appears not to be ready for that role, so the Penguins need to acquire a goaltender from outside the organization. This is the team’s top priority right now and finding a suitable goaltender is necessary if the team is going to progress in the playoffs.

    I think it would be prudent to assume that the team will not advance very far in the playoffs with their current goaltenders, assuming Vokoun is unable or unwilling to return.

  • allaboutcents

    Once Scuds and other forwards are back, Shero would be wise to look at the goalie situation with the playoffs in mind. In doing so, he will come to the fair conclusion that depending on Vokoun to be back and ready for Fleurygate again is not an option.
    Whether it is Fasth or another goalie who can come in and play if Fleury falters, Niskanen is fair game to be traded.