Lukas Dostal, You Have Arrived
In Gibson’s case, his initial groin injury struck in his second season, and while that’s not a path that should necessarily be predicted for Dostal, it is one that should be considered for the currently 20-year-old player. A single part-season in the NHL doesn’t instantly make a player robust enough to jump into the big leagues and perform on a night in/out basis.
There are a lot of maybe’s with how the Anaheim Ducks could manipulate the current situation in the net. However, the past could show us some similarities in how they may attempt to handle it. The only real difference between then and now is that back then the Ducks were able to bring in cheaper backup netminders to attempt to fill in all the injury gaps.
This time around, the Anaheim Ducks are already over the cap ceiling, thus their ability to fill injury gaps is already hamstrung. I personally have a lot of faith in the Ducks’ ability to evaluate talent through the draft. They may not necessarily be as good at that as their hype may suggest. However, they seem to hit on a very high number of NHL players. Netminders in particular. Where the Ducks seem to fall down is in development.
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Gibson has turned into an excellent netminder. Andersen before him also panned out. However, the question can and should be asked whether Gibson’s entry into the NHL was the absolute best way to go about it and whether his injury woes were in part due to that entry pathway. Murray, in the past, has criticized Gibson for a lack of preparation when he first entered the league, and while there may be truth to that, it is also more a reflection on the organization than the player.
If the player isn’t ready, he shouldn’t have been brought in to play. It seems likely that this lack of preparation contributed to Gibson’s injury history. The Anaheim Ducks need to be self-aware enough to recognize that and to then ensure they don’t make those same mistakes again.
Dostal is running hot coming off of consecutive quality seasons in Finland. The Ducks are self-proclaiming that they’re a playoff team. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see a cash strapped team trying to make the playoffs push their youth into the team earlier than they should be and thus have negative impacts on that player’s development, and further delay the team’s bid for playoff relevance.
With all of that said, if I were to make a prediction, I would suggest that Ducks fans will see Dostal in the NHL at some stage during this coming season. I would even go so far as to suggest that next season he will become a more permanent fixture. Mostly just because I want to stir the pot a little, I suspect in two years’ time, John Gibson will be traded and Lukas Dostal’s time will arrive. At that stage, Gibson will be 30 years old and quite frankly, I’m not even mad that they’d trade him.
Lukas Dostal may have just arrived in North America, yet I believe his time is nigh. If the Ducks can keep him healthy, Dostal is set to be a fixture in the Anaheim net for the foreseeable future. It’s a shame that the first jersey I’ll own of his will be that hideous throwback they’ve brought back for this year. But, I plan to own that Dostal jersey so that in10 years’ time everyone will know I was one of the real ones. The believers. With perhaps just a little more money than sense.
Lukas Dostal, you have arrived.
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