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.
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.
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."
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.