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DUCKS FYI

Things change quickly for Viktor Fasth

After a great rookie season with the Ducks, goalie battles injuries and winds up with last-place Edmonton.

March 27, 2014|By Lance Pugmire
  • Former Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth has been splitting time in the net with former Kings goalie Ben Scrivens, but won't face his former team when they play Friday at Rexall Place in Edmonton.
Former Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth has been splitting time in the net with… (Jason Franson / Associated…)

EDMONTON, Canada — Traded Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth left Anaheim on March 4 in 82-degree weather, arriving at his new team's home with the thermometer at minus-13. That's minus-25 Celsius up here.

"Here we go … ," Fasth said to himself, capping events that reveal how fast yesterday's rising star can transform into an expendable commodity.

Fasth, 31, went from being goalie 1-A for the playoff-thinking Ducks (47-18-7) to sharing time in net with ex-King Ben Scrivens for the last-place Edmonton Oilers (25-39-9).

As a 2013 rookie, Fasth was 15-6-2 in 25 games with better statistics (2.18 goals-against average, .921 saves percentage) than co-regular-season starter Jonas Hiller, prompting the Ducks to sign Fasth to a two-year contract extension.

This season, injuries changed everything. He played only five games before nagging injuries led to abdominal muscles flaring up minutes before a Nov. 22 home game against Tampa Bay. Fasth never got back in the lineup.

While he recovered, replacement rookie Frederik Andersen was 15-3, prompting Ducks General Manager Bob Murray to deal Fasth for a third-round draft pick.

The Swede won't have a chance to face the Ducks on Friday when they visit the Oilers at Rexall Place. Last week, a teammate crashed into him during three-on-two drills and he struck his neck on the post.

Asked how he looks back on this year, Fasth cracked, "I'd rather not. Tough year."

He's 2-1-1 with Edmonton, said he expects to resume skating Friday and "definitely" wants to face Anaheim if he has the chance, either Wednesday at Honda Center or April 6 in Edmonton.

He aspired to push Hiller (29-11-6) for the majority of the starts this season, but now touts his former teammate and friend as a strong Vezina Trophy contender. Hiller said he misses "a great guy."

"I always say the difference between a good goalie and a great goalie is who can play on a consistent basis over several years," Hiller said. "Having a good year, the skill set might be there, but a lot of it is the mental aspect, being able to find your way back when the confidence goes down.

"Vik never really had a chance with the injuries to get into a groove. I hope for him he'll get a chance here. It's just never easy. There's just one job as the starting goalie."

Being dealt was "a shock," Fasth said. "You know it can happen … it's almost impossible for a team to have three goalies. I thought something was going to happen. … But you're never ready for it.

"That's history now. I've got to look ahead. I'm here, I'm really optimistic about this organization. … We have something good. Young, skilled guys, something to build on for sure."

Extended layover

Ducks defenseman Mark Fistric said the lower-body injury that has sidelined him for four games, believed to be a nerve issue in a leg, continued to aggravate him following Thursday's practice. He declared himself out for Friday's game and probably Saturday's in Vancouver.

"It needs to be further evaluated when I get back to L.A.," Fistric said. "It's a frustrating thing that popped up after the [March 15] game. I don't know when I can play."

DUCKS AT EDMONTON

When: 6:30 PDT

On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 980.

Etc.: The Oilers have lost three straight by a combined score of 16-4, and are only a game removed from an 8-1 home loss to Calgary in which forward Taylor Hall squirted water on his bench area, wetting Coach Dallas Eakins. … Ducks center Mathieu Perreault has a point in six consecutive games.

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

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