Since it was apparent that the Anaheim Ducks were indeed a team destined for the playoffs in 2016, questions have been surrounding which goaltender would be selected as their number-one for the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Unfortunately, it appears that an injury, not coach Bruce Boudreau, will be making the goalie decision for Anaheim. It was reported yesterday that Ducks’ goaltender Frederik Andersen suffered a concussion during the game against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday Night. Andersen was ruled out of last night’s contest against the Vancouver Canucks and no timetable has been set for his return.
With only five games remaining in the regular season, one can imagine that 22-year-old netminder, John Gibson, will be the one between the pipes during the Ducks run for the Stanley Cup. Nobody ever wants a decision to be made this way. Gibson could have very well been chosen as Anaheim’s starter for the playoffs without Andersen being sidelined with a concussion. However, he would rather have this decision be made by Boudreau and not because he became the only realistic option.
Trust in Gibson
In his third year as a member of the Ducks’ organization, Gibson has really blossomed into the goaltender everyone was hoping he would be. Although playing time was split pretty equal between himself and Andersen, very few questioned who would be Anaheim’s netminder going into the future. In 36 games this season, Gibson is 19-12-3 with a phenomenal 2.07 goals against average and a .919 save percentage.
Gibson is still a youngster in the NHL so his postseason experience is quite limited. In his first season with Anaheim (2013-14), Gibson started four playoff games going 2-2, allowing nine goals on 111 shots.
The Ducks should have a great deal of confidence in their young netminder heading into the postseason. He has shown little reason for concern and gives the team good chance to make a run for the cup. The only cause for concern would be if Gibson struggles to stay healthy for the entirety of the postseason. If Andersen is unable to return for the playoffs, Anton Khudobin would fill in as the team’s backup. Khudobin would make a solid backup for Gibson but panic would surely set in if he had to become the “main guy” at the most crucial time.
End of Andersen in Anaheim?
Again, there has been no timetable set for Andersen’s return. There still is the likelihood that he can return before the season ends and serve as Anaheim’s backup for the postseason. However, we must remember that concussions are no joke and are taken very seriously in every sport.
For that reason, it is also likely that Andersen has seen his last action for this season. If this is the case, Andersen could very well have played his last game as a member of Anaheim Ducks. Andersen becomes a restricted free agent this summer and will very likely be on the radar of teams in the market for a starting goaltender.
Andersen’s injury Wednesday night truly was an unfortunate occurrence. Everybody wants to see a role given to the player most deserving of it. Gibson may very well be the goalie who deserves to be the Ducks starter for the postseason but it will be hard to ignore that an injury could have played a part in that decision.
John Gove is an elementary school educator who writes about hockey in his spare team. Over the past five years, John has covered the game at various levels. Now, he exclusively focuses his coverage on prospects and the developmental leagues.