So, here's exactly what's going on with the roster today:
Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) October 15, 2014
#NHLDucks Gibson will play two games with Norfolk this weekend and will return to Anaheim.— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) October 15, 2014
As I'm sure most of you are aware, there was a bit of a ruckus from Ducks fans (especially here in the AC comments) over John Gibson starting the season opener in Pittsburgh. As I'm sure ALL of you are aware... it did not go well for him, giving up six goals in his hometown including two or three really bad ones and he hasn't seen game action since, despite back to back games on Monday and Tuesday.
Clearly, Frederik Andersen is now the number one goalie in the Ducks' system and this move is all about managing John Gibson's playing time and development. With Andersen starting both ends of the back-to-back with Buffalo and Philly, it was hard to determine when Gibson would get another shot, barring an injury or dip in form from Freddy.
In fact, Kid ish and I had a discussion over twitter on the subject just before the start of last night's game. I suggested it would have worked best to play Gibson in Buffalo, against a team so bad he couldn't possibly screw it up, but Kid pointed out it might be more to Boudreau's M.O. to throw him into the fire against Minnesota or St. Louis this weekend. Clearly none of those things will be occurring.
As a high end prospect, and this move proves that he is still just that: A Prospect, Gibson can't be sitting on the bench waiting for his turn, and as a human being it would be nice to get into a game just to move on from that rough performance in Pittsburgh. So, the question becomes: Why not just send him down to play with the Admirals and prove himself like any other prospect, instead of treating it like an AHL conditioning stint?
The first possible reason is simply for PR. John Gibson is a very high profile player for the Ducks organization. They've gone the whole summer saying they're going to go with Andersen/Gibson 1A/1B until someone takes control of the situation and quitting on that plan after one game wouldn't look so great. They want everyone to know that this is not a demotion, even though it is, he's still in their plans and not to freak out about it.
The other possibility is that they don't have all that much confidence in Jason LaBarbera as a true NHL backup that can step in if Andersen is out for an extended period, or at least that they have more confidence in Gibson playing that role (which should be clear from the aforementioned 1A/1B talk). LaBarbera is still really just an emergency backup. If Andersen gets injured, I would not be surprised in the least to see Gibson come up and start, with LaBarbera backing him up.
In any case, it's good for the Ducks to have clearly defined goaltending roles, if somewhat unorthodox, and even better that Gibson is getting a chance to play sooner rather than later.
On a separate but somewhat related note, AHL player of the week Chris Wagner was called up as well in place of Patrick Maroon who has been put on injured reserve meaning he will be out until at least October 21. Word from Eric Stephens is that Maroon still hasn't been examined by Ducks doctor and more details will be known (to the team, but not us) later today.