John Gibson is Off to a Historically Good Start of a Career
John Gibson has only played 236 games in the NHL, during that time he has amassed a .921% save percentage. An impressive feat, but even more impressive when you factor in that as things stand right now he is 3rd all-time in career save percentage among goalies who have played 100 games, the only two players with a higher save percentage are (in my opinion) the greatest goaltender of all-time Dominik Hasek and Canadiens great Ken Dryden who both have a .922% save percentage.
Gibson has started his career in a remarkable fashion. He’s taken the starting job for an Anaheim Ducks team that was on the downswing and kept them afloat. During his reign as a starter, the Ducks have been 17th, 18th and 31st best in the league in goals scored while being 3rd, 3rd and 19th in goals against. The Ducks have been either mediocre or anemic at scoring chances over the past 3 years yet John Gibson stands tall time and time again and is literally the only reason that the Ducks were not dead last in the league this past season.
When you look at this chart from Cole Anderson on Twitter (If you have twitter I highly recommend you follow him, a great reference for goaltender statistics with creative charts. It shows that Gibson (with some help from Ryan Miller) prevented an absurd amount of goals. As well, this chart shows where the Ducks would be had they had “league average” goaltending. Bumping them down from the already disappointing 24th best team all the way down to 30th best. AKA: The second-worst team in the league behind only the Ottawa Senators.
Lastly, I want to take a look at Gibson’s statistics in comparison to all goaltenders from 2010 up until now. Gibson ranks 1st in the entire NHL in save percentage over that time period. Ben Bishop, Rask, Carey Price, and Pekka Rinne make up the rest of the top 5. Bishop was close, posting a .9210% in comparison to Gibson’s .9215%. Gibson is 4th in goals saved above average. Wait… He’s not even in the top 3? Gibson has 87.96 goals saved above average, Sergei Bobrovsky who is 3rd has 89.51, Corey Schneider who is 2nd has 98.3 and Henrik Lundqvist who is far and away 1st has 146.36.
The difference being that Gibson has played 151 fewer games than Schneider who has the next lowest games played in that top 4. Lundqvist has played 519 games, more than double Gibson’s 235. Were Gibson to play as many games as Cory Schneider has played, and continued the pace he is on, he would have a GSAA of 144.44 in 133 fewer games than Lundqvist. Were he to play as many games as Lundqvist and maintain this pace, his GSAA would go to an astronomical 194.21. Yes, all of this is presuming that Gibson was to maintain the pace he is on to reach these numbers, but on a per-game basis, you’d have a hard time arguing that any goalie has brought more to his team than John Gibson has.
John Gibson has done everything in his power to be the best player on the Anaheim Ducks, and he’s succeeded, he’s done everything in his power to be one of the best goaltenders in the world, and he’s succeeded. Unfortunately, the Ducks are not in a huge market like Toronto, New York or Montreal, nor are they a juggernaut of a team like the Tampa Bay Lightning, and that means that John Gibson will likely not ever get the respect he deserves. After all, so far it’s only netted him a single 3rd place Vezina trophy vote (the same amount that Jacob Markstrom received and 8 fewer votes than both Jordan Binnington and Darcy Kuemper.) I’ve come to peace with that realization, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to sit quietly as one of the best goaltenders in the game continually gets overlooked.
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