After defeating the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday night, the Anaheim Ducks find themselves fifth in the West Division, with 8 points in 7 games. This puts them only one point behind the second-place St. Louis Blues. While it is still early in the season, the Ducks are quietly keeping themselves in the playoff race.
Currently, the Anaheim Ducks are in the bottom five for GF (goals for). So, how is this even possible? There is only one plausible explanation for their recent success, and his name is John Gibson.
Despite coming off of his worst season yet to date (statistically speaking), the 27-year-old netminder has kept the Anaheim Ducks heart beating over the last three seasons. Near the end of 2019-20, it started taking its toll. But, after a long 10 month hiatus, Gibson has seemingly come back better than ever.
The Stats Don’t Lie
Amongst currently active goaltenders, Gibby has faced the second-most SA (shots against) this season. However, the workload hasn’t seemed to phase him, as his save percentage remains in the Top 5, at .948%.
If we take a closer look, the four other goaltenders that have a higher SV% have played more than 100 minutes less than Gibson. He is dominating and it isn’t even close. In six games, he is at the top of the league in GSAA (goals saved above average,) at 8.20.
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It doesn’t matter if the NHL ranked him at #14, John Gibson is currently the best goaltender in the league, bar none. Call us bias, but when your top point producer is Carter Rowney and your top goalscorer hasn’t scored a goal in five games, you’ve gotta look somewhere. And John Gibson is the only logical reason this team is even floating right now.
John Gibson Needs Support from the Anaheim Ducks
But, how long will this last? Last season, Gibson started the season strong, much like he has this year. Nevertheless, facing 30-50 SOG every night slowly started to chip away at the Anaheim Ducks goaltender. With him being their main source of defense and having no offensive backup at the other end of the ice, it became blatantly obvious that even the best players can crack under pressure.
Will this season read as last season did? As much as we love to joke about Gibson being Goalie Jesus, he is only human, and if he doesn’t get support from the rest of his team, it won’t be long before Gibson begins to play like a middle-of-the-road goaltender. That might work for any other team, but for the Anaheim Ducks, who are struggling at both ends of the ice, that doesn’t fair well for Bob Murray‘s playoff dreams.
Dallas Eakins and GMBM need to collectively find a solution, whether that comes in the form of a trade, a lineup shuffle, or a young stud by the name of Trevor Zegras. The Anaheim Ducks need to find success without relying so heavily on their goaltender. Nevertheless, without Gibson, the Ducks would be at the bottom of the league, so we will gladly sing his praises.
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