In a season that saw plenty of misfortunes and heartbreak for the Anaheim Ducks, the shining light in a dark tunnel was partly the goaltending duo of John Gibson and Ryan Miller.
Starting off with John Gibson, he’s arguably been the franchise goaltender since his debut back in 2013-2014. He started to take off after the departure of then starting goalie Frederik Andersen, and the rest has been history. Sadly, his contributions to the Anaheim Ducks haven’t been recognized by the NHL more, considering that he’s never won the Vezina Trophy, yet he’s still putting up seasons worthy of the award. Last year was an off-year for Gibson however, which is surprising considering the statistics.
Before struggling through the 2018-2019 season, Gibson signed an eight-year contract worth $51.2 million, and his status as the starting goalie was more secure than ever. Still, he’d have to beat the injury bug and come out strong for the season, something that he was very capable of doing. It was the mid-stretch that got to him.
The Team Couldn’t Help Gibson Stay Afloat
At the start of the season, Gibson was incredibly solid, recording a shut-out in only his second game of the year. He stood tall against San José and Detroit to earn the Ducks a 3-0 record, but disaster struck afterward. Seven straight losses, only one of them being bigger than a two-goal loss.
The Ducks were dead last in scoring in the NHL, only managing 199 goals throughout the season. Even though Gibson didn’t have his best season, he still made sure that the Ducks came in eighteenth place for goals against at 251 goals. The rest of the team just couldn’t help Gibson out, unfortunately, which burned him after they couldn’t come back from small deficits.
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Gibson Had An Off-Year In the Statistics
Gibson played in fifty-eight games and started all but one, and for most of those games, he struggled to ward off the thirty plus shots on goal each game. By the end of the season, Gibson had faced thirty-four shots less than what he had seen the previous season at 1872.
But the leap from only 1437 in 2016-2017 to those 1872 shots faced the next season is a clear sign of a struggling defense. The 1838 shots he took in 2018-2019 weren’t exactly fair, considering that the total number should be reduced by now.
He made forty-eight fewer saves than he did in 2017-2018 at 1685 for the season, which is still a stellar number. For anyone goalie though, that’s simply too much to handle.
In the miraculous season that J.S. Giguere had back in 2002-2003, his team still put up 203 goals to help with the 193 that Giguere had let in, and they faced about the same amount of shots on goal. Gibson’s off-year wasn’t one of the bigger reasons for an awful 2018-2019 season, considering that the bigger fish to fry were the injuries and only scoring 199 goals.
Still, he kept games close enough during those horrendous losing streaks to turn them into possible victories, and that sums up how much he meant to the team. It’s almost like it wasn’t an off-year at all.