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Duck Tales: Why Gibson to Pittsburgh doesn’t make sense

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Plus prospects, a coach’s return from COVID and more in today’s news and notes.

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Goaltender John Gibson #36 of the Anaheim Ducks tends net during the first period of the game against the San Jose Sharks at Honda Center on February 5, 2021 in Anaheim, California. Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins are on the hunt for a goaltender.

We know that last week the team inquired with the Vegas Golden Knights about re-acquiring former fan favorite netminder Marc-Andre Fleury, but the top team in the West Division isn’t exactly looking to get rid of a reliable goaltender in a season where teams are utilizing three, or even four goaltenders.

But it seems likely that new Penguins general manager Ron Hextall is going to switch things up to attempt to squeeze another Stanley Cup out of this particular core.

Per Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy, Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson may be on their radar.

Hockey insiders are already pontificating about the first big Hextall and Burke move on the NHL trade market. Some, including a source close to the Penguins, are already speculating about John Gibson, a native Pittsburgh son, who is in a sinking situation in Burke’s old stomping grounds, Anaheim.

This is as much as I have access to, as the article sits behind a paywall, but the suggestion feels laughable on its face (I mean, if every player got to play in his hometown, the Maple Leafs would host half the league). I’m also not impressed with Murphy’s track record of being an ‘insider’ — but let’s address specifics on why this wouldn’t play out.

First, there’s the fact that both teams are tight to the cap, relying on Long-Term Injured Reserve for cap relief (more than $7 million for the Ducks and just under $6 million for the Penguins). Gibson, who is in the second year of an eight-year contract, carries a cap hit of $6.4 million. The money alone is difficult to make work.

Then there’s his role on the team. At 27 years old, Gibson as much a centerpiece for the rebuild as any of the young players coming up, if we’re to believe the rebuild is near-over.

It’s not, but the front office isn’t exactly convinced of that. The team started this season being told they’re in compete-now mode. Why would it make sense then, to trade the person responsible for the majority of their wins?

If the front office wants that elusive fourth-overall spot that earns them a playoff berth, it’ll happen on the shoulders of John Gibson. And if, like Bob Murray believes, this team is able to compete, a package for their starting goaltender isn’t as appealing as it would be to a team who knows playoffs are out of the picture.

Perhaps Murray’s delusions of a re-tool are going to keep this team from making a stupid trade. Suddenly I support the “re-tool.”

Onto the news and notes!

On the Pond

  • Off the Record: Speculation Ties Pens to Gibson; Vancouver Mess [Boston Hockey Now+]
  • Ducks quarter-season review: Plenty of positives despite offensive problems [The Athletic]
  • Ducks Prospects: Drysdale, Moore, Colangelo & More [The Hockey Writers]
  • Ducks vs. Sharks NHL Betting Odds & Pick: Anaheim Has Clear Advantage Thanks to Goaltending [Action Network]

Around the World

  • The NHL’s best and worst this week: The secrets to Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith’s longevity [ESPN]
  • Flyers see addition and subtraction for COVID protocol list as they face new week [NBC Sports Philadelphia]
  • Krueger rejoins Sabres after having COVID-19, ‘scarred by the experience’ [NHL.com]
  • Calculating an NHL team’s finances and plan for expanding revenue [The Athletic]
  • NHL’s division-only format results in tunnel vision [Boston Globe]
  • Marquette native turned beer hockey league legend after video goes viral [UP Matters]
  • With Indoor Rinks Closed, Players Turn to ‘Speakeasy Hockey’ [The New York Times]
  • ‘He hit him until the stick broke’: Ice hockey aces’ horror as shock clips show player soaked in blood from brutal beating [RT.com]
  • High school hockey teams face unique challenges due to COVID [WHEC]
  • Here Are the Ugliest Contracts in the NHL Today [Sports Illustrated]

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