Francois Alliare’s goaltending camp in Switzerland has claimed yet another casualty. Days after Colorado Avalanche starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov left the camp after injuring his ankle playing basketball during off-ice activities; Calgary Flames goaltender Jonas Hiller has also suffered an injury.
On Friday, Hiller suffered an attack of appendicitis. The 32-year-old Swiss goaltender had to undergo a minor procedure to remove his appendix, but is expected to make a full recovery, and be 100 percent by the opening of training camp.
When free agency began on July 1, the Flames quickly snatched up Hiller, signing him to a two-year contract worth $4.5 million per season. He expects to compete with Karri Ramo for the starting job in net for the Flames, essentially replacing fellow Swiss countryman Reto Berra, who was shipped to the Colorado Avalanche at last season’s trading deadline (and who is coincidentally also in attendance at Alliare’s camp).
Undrafted, Hiller spent all seven of his NHL seasons with the Anaheim Ducks after staring for HC Davos of the Swiss National League. A starter six seasons, Hiller found himself embroiled in a goaltending controversy last season. After playing in 50 games during the regular season for the Ducks, Hiller was benched to start the playoffs in favor of Frederik Andersen. He briefly regained the Anaheim net when Andersen went down with an injury; but was eventually benched again, this time in favor of untested rookie John Gibson.
“To be able to play at your best, you have to feel like people trust you and people want you there, which I didn’t really feel was the case (in Anaheim), especially in the second half of the season last year,” said Hiller. “It’s always tough to not doubt yourself if the coach doubts you and doesn’t really want to play you against the big teams.”
Hiller went 29-13-7 last season, with five shutouts, a 2.48 goals against average and a .911 save percentage. In six postseason games, he boasted a 2.19 goals against average and a .906 save percentage. In 326 career NHL games, Hiller has a 2.51 goals against average and a .916 save percentage. He also represented Switzerland during the 2014 Olympics, posting a 0.67 goals against average and a .971 save percentage in three games.