Bringing It Back To Dostal
How this then relates to Dostal is that the situation could easily shift to see an NHL debut perhaps before his time. At this stage of the game, Dostal is but 20 years of age and is very slight of build. That isn’t to suggest that Dostal is “too small” to be an NHL goalie. He sits only two inches shorter than Gibson, and one inch shorter than Ryan Miller. However, Dostal also has the frame of a 20-year-old and not the robust physique of an older and more experienced player.
Dostal’s frame may not be the biggest issue in the world, however, consider that within the proposed hub for the 2020-2021 season, the Anaheim Ducks will likely be playing against the Dallas Stars. Corey Perry plays for the Dallas Stars. You know, that guy who accidentally falls on purpose into the opposition netminder?
Yeah, you used to love him. Would it be out of the ordinary to see a 6’3” big framed Perry fall onto the young and fresh-faced slight framed Dostal, just to say hello and welcome to the NHL? Perry isn’t the only player in the league who loves running netminders. Old Captain Knees (Dustin Brown) still plays for the LA Kings.
There should also be some concern, as there should be with all young players, that an increase in training load (read all physical exercise) can increase the risk of succumbing to injury. For instance, one study, of which there are many, suggests that an increase in loading of >15% from week to week, can increase the risk of injury by between 21-49%. We’re also discovering that soft tissue (muscle, tendon, or ligaments) may still react to loads placed upon them up to 4 weeks prior.
It wouldn’t take much for Gibson to succumb to a groin strain, given the strongest predictor of future injury is previous injury history and age. Similarly, the most likely backup option is the old as time, Ryan Miller. Who knows when he could go down with an injury, despite him being relatively robust in his career to date.
We only need to look at the Gibson scenario, to see that due to injuries at one point in time the Ducks rolled (pun intended) their goalie coach, Dwayne Roloson. What then if Dostal is the man on the spot and the Ducks don’t have enough coverage to give him the odd night off? Given the current salary cap concerns, it seems at least plausible that the Ducks may struggle to bring in a backup in short order.
It’s not to say that Dostal would get hurt in that initial spell in net, but that should he go directly back to the AHL and take the starter’s job, that additional player load from training and playing could stay with him for longer than anticipated. The point is that while an AHL goalie should be prepared to play in the NHL, it wouldn’t take much for Dostal to see NHL action this coming season, and it wouldn’t take much for him to get hurt without a physically robust frame to withstand the rigors of the current game. The Anaheim Ducks will need to be aware, and to manage, all of these variables in a way that they haven’t necessarily shown they’ve been able to do in the past.
Following on from that, the Ducks currently do not have a backup netminder signed for next season, and should Dostal perform well enough in training camp and pre-season, he could see himself slotted into that position. Furthermore, the Ducks do not have a netminder signed for the following season either, although they will have to find a netminder of sufficient age and experience in order to comply with the Seattle expansion draft.
This opens up a potential pathway for Dostal to be slotted into the backup role as early as this season, and almost certainly next season at the latest. The Seattle signed netminder could be a long term AHL netminder, and could almost certainly be Stolarz should he still be around at that time.