Ducks extend Hiller’s contract.

The Ducks have identified their goalie of the future, signing Jonas Hiller to a four-year, $18 million extension announced today. The27-year-old will make $4.5 million in each year of the contract.

The contract comes after a quick three-year ascension for Hiller in the NHL, in which he took over the number one mantle from Jean-Sebastien Giguere, led the Ducks into the second round of the playoffs last season, and now will be paid like a starting goalie.

“When I got here I didn’t know what to expect, my first year was more about showing I could play here,” Hiller said. “My second year I tried to get better … having that security is a great thing.”

Since the Ducks signed Hiller as a free agent out of the Swiss Elite League, only Boston’s Tim Thomas (.9244) and Florida’s Tomas Vokoun (.9241) have a better save percentage than Hiller (.9192). He’s just ahead of Roberto Lunogo, Martin Brodeur and Ryan Miller on that list.

This season he is 21-15-2 with a 2.75 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage. Like the rest of his teammates, those numbers have gotten better as the Ducks have turned their season around.

“We had a lot of new players and never found a way to play 60 minutes,” Hiller said. “There is a lot of talent on this team. I was able to be a factor in that process.”

Hiller said that Giguere was the first teammate he told about his new contract — “that’s the honesty me and Jiggy have,” he said — and doesn’t expect it will hamper their relationship as teammates. Giguere is under contract through the end of 2011, but holds a no-trade clause and has made it clear he does not want to be a backup goaltender.

If Hiller continues to play like a starter, it will be difficult for Giguere to regain the No. 1 mantle in Anaheim anytime soon — specifically, through 2014.

“I almost feel sad to sign an extension, knowing I’ll be around four more years,” Hiller said. “(Giguere) is always supportive of me.”
This entry was posted in Anaheim Ducks/NHL and tagged , by J.P. Hoornstra. Bookmark the permalink.

About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.

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