Ah another new year and another new freshly painted crease. Optimism is all around us. The chance of the broadcast team saying left-handed larceny is guaranteed in just a few nights (I miss right-handed robbery and Jonas Hiller).
The Anaheim Ducks are going into the season with some familiar faces in hopes to replicate their regular reason performance. Who will lead the Ducks this season? Here are the nominees:
The one. The only. The man they don’t call Frederick Andersen. It is our savior, John Gibson. To put it simply, Gibson was the reason the Ducks made the playoffs last year. While Ryan Getzlaf and company were out of the Ducks lineup, Gibson raised his game from seasons past to lead Anaheim to multiple victories. Even while being shelled with shots night in and night out he was able to keep the Ducks in games. That was no easy feat with all the man games lost throughout the season.
Gibson posted Vezina type numbers all year. He started 60 games (a career high), had a SV% of .926% (a career high), and collected 4 shutouts. He went 31-18-7 in all of his games, which isn’t too shabby. However, his GAA did go up to 2.43 a game. This may seem like a steady jump from his last two years, but Gibson did see more shots than ever before. Even though he played in 8 more games and roughly 500 more minutes than his previous career high, he saw 405 more shots. Ouch. Overall Gibson was 4thoverall in Goalie WAR (according to Corsica.hockey/war) with 5.93.
Anaheim will need Gibson to be at the top of his game for a second year in a row if they want any chance of reaching the playoffs again. My only criticism is that he needs to step out of his comfort zone and flaunt some bold CCM pads.
Miller is back as the backup goalie for the new season. He is heading into the last year of his contract, which may result in his last campaign with the Ducks. Coming in hot at 38 years old, Miller had a stellar 2017-2018 year. When called upon, the veteran net minder was reliable and steady. He played in 28 games and went 12-6-6 with a 2.35 GAA and .928 SV%. Keep in mind that Miller did have some of the easier matchups yet had a WAR of 3.11. Don’t be surprised if Miller regresses just a smudge this year.
Miller is easily the swagiest of the Anaheim Ducks goalies. Black pads are in these days and Miller’s Vaughn pads do the trick. His most noteworthy addition for the year is his third jersey, throwback mask. This is an absolute beauty and should be revered by all.
In my 2016-2017 Goalie Preview for Anaheim Calling, I said this about Boyle. “Boyle is easily my favorite current Ducks goalie prospect. The former UMass-Lowell goalie signed a one year, entry-level contract at the end of last season. His 1.83 GAA during his senior season was nothing short of great. At only 23 years old, Boyle needs a proper few years in the minors before he’ll be anything to get excited about. But until then, he has the talent to be a reliable tender wherever he plays.” Looks like I’m still on the right track.
2018-2019 marks Boyle’s third year in the Ducks system. His last year with the Gulls was a step in the right direction. Boyle played 35 games and posted a .921 SV% and 2.66 GAA. Room to grow, but that is expected from a 26-year-old goalie prospect. Boyle is trending up and could see some NHL time if the cards fall into his favor. I for one would be happy to see it.
I had no idea Coreau had signed with the Ducks in the offseason. Standing at 6’6” I understand the risk Bob Murray wanted to take. Coreau most recently played for the Detroit Red Wings where he was drafted. Unlike Boyle, Coreau does have NHL experience, albeit not the best of numbers. In Grand Rapids of the AHL, he posted a .913 SV% and 2.52 GAA.
The biggest positive I see to this signing is that Coreau is also 26 years old. This should create some friendly competition in San Diego this year. Since he’s been to the show before, I can picture Coreau getting a call up early in the season if necessary.
On a side note, if you’re ever curious about goalie related topics, https://www.thegoalieguild.com is the place to go. You can purchase books, look at goalie depth charts, and find other cool topics. As of this summer, they started the “Lift the Mask” program which is an inititiative dedicated to mental health support in the goalie community. Check them out!