There’s almost a month, to the day, before the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline. With that in mind, I thought I’d take advantage of puckpedia.com GM mode, put on my fancy GM-for-a-day cap, and see what kind of Anaheim Ducks super-team I could create with some— dare I say it— shrewd and insightful moves.
Firstly, I think it’s worth noting that my basis for all of these moves is that the current team is not very good. Shocking, I know. Yet, I believe we do need some reality mixed in with all the “playoffs are possible” comments from the Ducks themselves over the past 6 months.
Certainly, if the entire division self-destructs, the Anaheim Ducks should be able to sneak their way into the playoffs the same way that Australian legend, Steven Bradbury, stole a gold medal in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. But, to win their way there on their own merits? Laughable.
Thus, I thought to use the ever-strong tank strategy to lay the foundations of a future super team. Feel free to critique the absolute ever-loving hell out of the moves below. After all, the exercise was all just a little bit of fun!
The first cab off the rank is setting John Gibson free. He’s struggled mightily this season, to rank 34th of the 65 netminders to play 100 minutes in expected goals saved above average (GSAx) and 40th in actual goals saved above average (GSAA). Both numbers are in the negatives. Similarly, the difference in saves between unblocked shot attempts and expected unblocked shot attempts ranks him in the negatives and in the bottom half of the league.
This isn’t to suggest that Gibson is a poor player by any stretch of the imagination. His expected goals-against are the second-highest amongst all netminders, which simply suggests the team in front of him is a trainwreck defensively. Which is something I think we can all agree is certainly the case.
What this does highlight, however, is that Gibson cannot win enough games on his own merits to drag the team into playoff contention. Hockey Jesus certainly knows he’s tried, as he sits equal second in the league for shutouts this season.
What Gibson does have is the aura about him, that suggests he’s a great netminder. One team that could use that big goalie energy is the Colorado Avalanche. Philipp Grubauer is certainly a decent netminder, but he has a history of injuries. Behind him the Avs have nothing. Adding Gibson to a roster, that already looks like a team destined for post-season success, could be the ticket to another Stanley Cup banner being hung high in the Colorado rafters.
Gibson, of course, won’t be cheap to acquire. He is a star player in his own right and, at only 27 years of age, has a number of years left in the tank. To this end, the Anaheim Ducks trade proposal begins with Bowen Byram and the Avs 2022 1st round draft pick.
In addition, the Avs also include netminder Pavel Francouz and the remaining four years of his salary ($2 million AAV). This is, in part due, to helping the Avalanche manage their money moving forward, and that the Ducks would like a netminder moving forward to mentor Lukas Dostal as he comes into the league in future years.