Guided by Former Oiler, Fasth Heads to New Home in Edmonton
Newly acquired goaltender Viktor Fasth heads to Edmonton after having former Oiler Dwayne Roloson as his goalie coach in Anaheim.
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In an ironic turn of events, it was Ilya Bryzgalov’s trade to Minnesota this morning which opened up a spot for Roloson’s pupil to in turn be traded to the coach’s former stomping grounds.
Fasth said he didn’t know much about the Oilers organization until he spoke with Roloson.
“(Nothing) other than playing there a couple of times,” Fasth said. “I talked to (Roloson) quickly before practice today and he said it’s a great organization and there’s great guys working around the team. It sounds great so I’m looking forward to joining the team and I’m real excited.”
Fasth says Roloson has been a big factor in helping him hone his game as he’s continued to grow as a NHL player since joining the league last season. He had previously played overseas in Sweden.
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“(Roloson) is a good guy and a good goalie coach,” Fasth said. “I had the opportunity to work with him, this year, a lot. He, obviously, pretty recently quit (playing) and he knows the game. He’s helped me out a lot with my game. He’s a really good guy.”
Last season, Fasth flashed talent by posting a 15-6-2 record with the ducks, a 2.18 goals against average and a .921 save percentage.
“Last year was my first year in the league. I came from the Swedish league and had played there for a couple of years before I got here. Last year, I had a good year with the team and the guys played great. We got eliminated in the first round, which we all thought we were going to play a little longer than that. But personally, it was a fun season coming into the league and I got to play a lot so it was a fun season.”
Anaheim General Manager Bob Murray said shortly after the trade that Fasth is a ‘class act and a great guy’. Murray also told the Anaheim media that he believes Fasth could be the number one in Edmonton. He is not alone in that thought process.
“You guys are going to get a bona fide number one goalie that works extremely hard,” Roloson told Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now, shortly after the trade completed. “He’s a good person, he’s phenomenal. I’m sad and upset to see him go… For me, I love the guy. He moves well, he’s a great person on and off the ice and his teammates are going to love him.”
Fasth’s coach and mentor in Anaheim had nothing but good things to say about his time with the goalie.
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“He’s a great mover,” Roloson said. “Most Europeans have trouble catching, he doesn’t have that issue. He catches pucks, he handles things clean, he moves phenomenal now and he battles. He battles hard, he hates to be scored on in practice, let alone games. He battles for every little thing and he’s a guy that he’s going to compete and he’s going to push himself to get better everyday.
“For me, it was fun to work with him that’s for sure because every day we’re out, we’re working on something and he’s the type of guy that actually I say we’re not working today, you need some rest. He’s just a workhorse and he wants to get better.”
Fasth has only played five games this season, due to a lower body injury. However, after a conditioning stint with the American Hockey League’s Norfolk Admirals, Fasth is 100% healthy and ready to get back to playing games.
“I had an injury during the season and last week, I went down and played four games for Norfolk in seven days and my body felt really good,” he said. “I’m really excited to be playing again. It was fun playing hockey again. It’s been a long winter like that for me but like I said, I’m really excited to be playing again and I can’t wait to be on the ice.”
The goalie is under contract through the 2014-15 season and will battle for starts with the freshly re-signed Ben Scrivens, for the rest of this season and into the next.
“I think that’s good for both the team the goalies to have someone to compete with and to push yourself to play as good as you can,” Fasth said. “That’s my goal to try and do that and try to do my best for the team.”
Fasth moves from the number one team in the Western Conference to the 14th place Oilers, moving from a team that’s a legitimate cup contender to one who’s trying to rebuild and work back to that point. He says that’s not discouraging, it’s motivating.
“As a hockey player, that’s why you play hockey. You want to win games and the Oilers have a lot of young guys on their way to develop into big players. They have something good going on. I’m really excited about joining the organization, at this point, and try to help the team see success.”