The Anaheim Ducks are in good hands in the goaltending department for years to come.
When news broke of Frederik Andersen being traded to Toronto in June, General Manager Bob Murray made clear that John Gibson would be the primary placeholder in net for the unforeseeable future of the franchise.
Fast forward 32 games into the 2016-17 campaign, the 23-year-old has left people desiring more from what have been offered on the table. Through 21 starts Gibson has posted a 2.69 goals against average and .906 save percentage.
For a team with Stanley Cup aspirations, the Ducks having a young and inexperienced goalie does not make things easier with an aging core group of skaters.
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But it is possible as Matt Murray being a 21-year-old rookie, was the key cog in the Pittsburgh Penguins march to the Stanley Cup last season.
Gibson is still learning how to approach cutting angles and solve shooting tendencies at the pro level but has shown natural goaltending instincts.
Strong pushes from good hip rotation allow him to effectively move laterally, avoiding constant scrambling/recovery.
After earning the Williams Jennings trophy for fewest goals allowed with Frederik Andersen last season, the new tandem formed between Jonathan Bernier and John Gibson has turned out to be better than expected.
I, for one, thought that the Achilles heel for the team heading into the season was the netminding but it has been good enough to where Anaheim currently occupies 2nd place in its division.
By taking a mulligan on Bernier’s performance in an 8-3 loss to Calgary for good reason, his respectable .934 save percentage in the month of October led Randy Carlyle to alternate starts between his netminders every game.
Bernier’s effectiveness in Anaheim can be summed up to his ability to fight through screens and to be in good positioning regardless of where the puck is.
Despite being smaller than the average NHL goaltender, he uses every inch of his frame to maximize capabilities.
What has also helped Bernier be on the winning side of decisions is due in part to the goal support from the team in close games. According to Puckalytics, Anaheim supplies 2.84 goals for per 60 minutes when Bernier is on the ice, good for 5th best in the league.
Only time will tell if what the Ducks currently have between the pipes will be enough to withstand the rigors of a full season.