Gibson Quietly Having Great Year for the Ducks
By Patrick Hoffman
When talking about the league's best netminders, several names usually come to mind.
Guys like Carey Price, Henrik Lundqvist, Tuukka Rask, Corey Crawford, Jonathan Quick, and Braden Holtby all stand out as being elite goaltenders in the National Hockey League. For the most part, these guys usually rank among the most consistent masked men in the league and put up terrific numbers.
One goaltender that deserves to have his name in the mix is John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks. When the Ducks had injury problems for much of the first half of the season, it was Gibson's strong play between the pipes that kept the Ducks afloat in both the Pacific Division and the Western Conference.
As of this writing (January 31, 2018), the Ducks are one point both out of a wild card spot and second in their division. Considering that a few of their top players missed significant time this season, that's pretty darn impressive.
While the team's head coach Randy Carlyle and the team as a whole deserves credit for staying in the thick of things, most of the credit should go to Gibson. While Gibson, 24, is currently (January 31, 2018) day-to-day with an undisclosed lower-body injury, it would be easy to see why he would be missed if he were ever to be out long term.
For starters, he has been extremely consistent this season. In 40 games this season, Gibson is 18-14-5 with a 2.63 goals against average, a .922 save percentage, and one shutout.
For a team that had a lot of injuries to start the season, these are great numbers. He essentially carried the team to the All-Star break and with the stretch run on tap, his play put the team in good position to get into the playoffs.
Secondly, Gibson has come up with the big save time and time again. Not only does he put himself in good position to stop the first shot, but he is able to use his athleticism to make second and third stops.
Look no further than here and here for prime examples of these kinds of saves. On these particular plays, Gibson shows both how flexible he is and how his concentration on keeping track of the puck can lead to big saves.
Lastly, Gibson has shown the Ducks' franchise and the rest of the league that he should be considered one of the game's elite netminders. In 158 games, Gibson is 80-51-18 with a 2.32 goals against average, a .922 save percentage and 13 shutouts.
These are great numbers for someone who is not even considered to be in his prime yet. There is also no reason to believe that he will not be able to sustain this kind of the play from now well into the future.
The Ducks are lucky to have Gibson as their man between the pipes and we as fans are lucky that we get to see him make dynamite saves.
Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.