After years of having a strong core in place for the Anaheim Ducks, fans now enter this season with more questions, unfamiliar faces, and a wide spectrum of expectations, depending on who you ask. However, if there’s one strength that they continue to have, it’s goaltending. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind who will be in net when Anaheim kicks off their season next Thursday, and you better believe that their dynamic duo will want to show why they are one of the best goalie tandems in the NHL.
2018-2019 Stats: 58 GP, .917 SV%, 2.84 GAA, 28.63 GSAA
The myth. The legend. He’s back.
John Gibson has been rock solid for a team that has often struggled to clear the puck, exit the zone swiftly, and avoid turnovers right in front of their net. He has carried this Ducks team on his back and will be asked to do it once again with the new season around the corner.
While the world may look at the top Google search hits for “goalie stats”, Gibson continues to be one of top goaltenders in the league. His 28.63 GSAA in all situations led the league and he was in the top 10 for high danger save percentage last season. He shows unparalleled athleticism time and time again and without him, the Ducks surely would have had better odds at the top pick in the draft this past summer.
Entering the first year of his new eight year contract extension, Gibson has a defense with plenty of question marks and critics who will claim that he isn’t one of the top goaltenders in the league. But make no mistake, he’s poised to have another stellar season. If Anaheim wants to have success this year, it will start and end with him.
2018-2019 Stats: 20 GP, .912 SV%, 2.76 GAA, 3.9 GSAA
Finding a good backup goaltender is not easy, but Anaheim has been fortunate to have had Ryan Miller for the past two seasons. Arguably one of the best US-born goaltenders, Miller returns for another season as a great option to share the load with Gibson and gives the team a chance to win each game. He’s calm, steady, and always ready to jump in at a moment’s notice. There were a number of games over his first couple of seasons where he had his number called mid-game and put up a strong fight.
Miller dealt with an MCL sprain last year, but he will look to build on his already outstanding NHL career doing whatever is necessary to help the team win. Look for him to see a similar workload of about 20-30 games, depending on Gibson’s health and the standings in the Pacific Division.
2018-2019 Stats: 18 GP, .901 SV%, 3.66 GAA, -4.66 GSAA
Over the summer, Bob Murray signed Anthony Stolarz to a two-year, one-way contract. Considering the details of the contract, there are questions about the plans for him within the Ducks organization. Does this make Kevin Boyle expendable? Is this one of Murray’s reclamation projects destined to go wrong? Time will tell, but as long as he isn’t a total train wreck, there’s a chance he’s the first to get called in case of a significant injury.
Just writing a season preview for the Bubble players for @AnaheimCalling and I am not sure if everyone checked out Anthony Stolarz injury history when they deemed him to be the heir apparent to Ryan Miller as Gibsons backup...— DefendTheNest (@defendthenestSD) September 24, 2019
The main obstacle to overcome for Stolarz will be his injury history. Back in 2017, he tore the meniscus in his left knee. He needed to have it surgically repaired and spent the summer recovering. Then, he tore it again. While we can only imagine the mental and physical toll these injuries have had on him, here’s to hoping he can find his game and some consistency with the San Diego Gulls until his name is called upon.