Readers, joining our writing staff is the Swedish Twitter phenom known as @steffeG. If you're not following him on Twitter, do yourself a favor and start today. steffeG will be bringing some insight and analysis while hopefully allowing to me to never use Google Translate again for some of those Swedish news articles that pertain to Senators players or prospects.
Without further ado...
There’s no doubting the fact that the big and bald Alex Auld, and more specifically, his sub-par play, has been causing problems for the Senators this season. The performances or lack thereof from Auld has led to a workload for Craig Anderson that would be described internally amongst goalies as “humongous”. That is, of course, aside from the more obvious fact that the team has arguably no more than two quality games from Auld, an October win at home against the Capitals, and the overtime loss in Vancouver on the western road trip in November.
With many - and perhaps nobody more so than the organization itself, it would seem – pinning their hopes to the Calder Cup winning Swedish prospect Robin Lehner. However, with the season not being the dominant definite breakout towards NHL-readiness for Lehner that you’d ideally hope, voices of reason have been raised to plea the case of “Lenny” staying another year in the city of happiness that is Binghamton, NY.
So, if all the eggs is with Craig Anderson’s metaphorical basket for now, and with Robin Lehner for the future, it would be stupid to spend too much money or throw assets on another team’s property to back-up and challenge the ice girl loving number one that is already in place.
Enter Viktor Fasth.
Wait, what? Who? Well, Viktor Fasth might not be known to the North American hockey audience, but he’s been arguably the best goalie playing in Europe over the last two seasons, highlighted by carrying his predicted bottom-feeder AIK of the SEL to an appearance in the semifinals as well as the Swedish team to a silver medal at the World Championships.
Despite being a late-bloomer, Fasth has now shown enough at the Swedish level and the sans-NHL national team level to earn an NHL contract, and there is no doubt there is interest from NHL teams. No team was willing to offer the one-way deal that he wanted last year, but there have been teams calling this year again. Ottawa should be one of them. He’s good, he’s cheap, and perhaps most importantly, he’s Swedish. If the thing backfires completely, well, he’s going back to Sweden, with no harm done to the team and the organization despite the odd soft goal, at worst.
A signing with potential with basically no downside? Sign me up! At the very least, it’d show a bit more ambition than signing a guy that the entire hockey world already knows can’t perform at the needed level, a signing based solely on the fact that the guy has been here before and has the same haircut as the starter.
Prologue: No offence, Alex Auld. I actually love your haircut.