Anaheim Ducks Fan Mailbag: 11/03/2014 – 11/09/2014

2 of 5

Nov 2, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Anaheim Ducks goalie Jason LaBarbera (30) defends his net in the third period against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center. The Ducks defeated the Avalanche 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

1. With the injury to John Gibson and uninspiring play of Jason LaBarbera, should the Ducks look to acquire a goalie in case Frederik Andersen suffers an injury before Gibson returns?

– Andy

Jason: This one’s a bit tough. I can understand wanting to acquire a goalie for insurance, but Jason LaBarbera actually is the insurance goalie. I’m leaning more against the Ducks signing another goalie, unless Andersen does sustain an injury that will sideline for a significant period of time.

First, both Andersen and John Gibson have outgrown the AHL. There isn’t much of anything for either player to gain in the AHL: if they split starts evenly in the NHL, they’ll get one or two a week each. In the AHL, games are usually just on weekends, which means one or two starts a week. No veteran is going to block Andersen or Gibson, so the “more playing time” argument doesn’t really apply in this case. The only way the Ducks will know if Andersen and Gibson can really handle the NHL is if they keep getting NHL starts.

Second, Bob Murray wants to give young guys an opportunity. Jonas Hiller was allowed to walk so that Andersen and Gibson could take over. Players such as Saku Koivu, Daniel Winnik, and Stephane Robidas weren’t given contracts, and the team has asked players such as William Karlsson, Devante Smith-Pelly, and Sami Vatanen to take their roster spots. Young players such as Matt Beleskey, Jakob Silfverberg, Lindholm, and Fowler have each taken steps forward in their development this season as well. While signing a veteran such as Ilya Bryzgalov, Tomas Vokoun, or even Martin Brodeur sounds enticing, it doesn’t really seem to fit the youth movement that Murray has been seeking (then again, neither did the Dany Heatley signing, but that was more of a low-risk, high-reward flyer).

Even if the Ducks do sign a guy like Bryzgalov or Brodeur, once Andersen and Gibson were to return from their injuries, that’s a mess. It doesn’t make much sense to carry three goalies, but none of those three goalies are AHL players. Again, there should be no veteran blocking Andersen and Gibson from competing for the number 1 spot when both are healthy. Use LaBarbera as a stopgap if both are hurt (as the Ducks did against the Avalanche and Islanders), but the only time a goalie like Bryzgalov should be considered is if both Andersen and Gibson cannot play for a significant amount of time.