24-Year-Old Goalie – Anaheim Ducks
John Gibson Contract Information:
Signed a three-year, $6.9 million contract with the Ducks in September 2015.
Gibson stopped 30 of 32 shots in Sunday's loss to the Sabres.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
The time is now for Gibson. With pesky co-starter Frederik Andersen being dealt to Toronto this summer, the 23-year-old is poised to run with the No. 1 starting job in Anaheim after posting great ratios (.920 save percentage, 2.07 GAA) in a career-high 40 appearances last season that amounted to a 21-13-4 record. Former Maple Leaf Jonathan Bernier was brought in by the Ducks this summer, and even though he's flashed glimpses of brilliance at times during his six-year career, Bernier's well-documented struggles in Toronto (under incoming head coach Randy Carlyle, no less) over the last three years make him a longshot to supplant Gibson -- who is sure to be afforded ample rope after impressing in 2015-16. Other than maybe Brian Elliott in Calgary and (ironically) Andersen in Toronto, there isn't another goalie heading into this season with a bigger opportunity to become a bonafide No. 1 starter (and reap the associated fantasy rewards) than Gibson. Keep that in mind when the top netminders start flying off the board in drafts this fall.
Gibson would be an excellent fantasy goaltender if he could find a way to earn the lionís share of playing time in net for Anaheim. The talented 22-year-old seemed well on his way to doing just that last season, but he went down with an upper-body injury right as he had pulled into a timeshare with Frederik Andersen, allowing Andersen to keep the gig to himself with a solid playoff run. A healthy Gibson figures to fit into the teamís plan in net somehow after going 13-8-0 with a 2.60 GAA and .914 save percentage last year, but the Ducks didnít exactly give him a vote of confidence in the offseason when they acquired veteran Anton Khudobin via trade. Gibson is probably the most talented member of the teamís goaltending trio, though that doesnít necessarily mean the 2011 second rounder will be the one getting the most playing time.
Gibson was brilliant in three regular-season games with the Ducks last season. He won all three starts, including one by shutout, and recorded a 1.33 GAA and .953 save percentage. He was then handed the reins in Game 4 of the Ducksí Western Conference semifinal with the Kings, promptly becoming the youngest goalie in NHL history to record a shutout in his playoff debut. He was ultimately pulled down 4-0 in Game 7 of that series, but by then, he had clearly established himself as the Ducks go-to stud of the near-future. Expect a platoon with Frederik Andersen to start the season, with Andersen probably getting slightly more starts based solely on experience. Gibson is a stud in the making, but the goalie gig likely wonít belong exclusively to him until 2015-16.
Gibson can absolutely dominate. And he can also come unglued. But such is the experience of most teenaged goalies -- we just expect them to be studs from the start. He's not exactly an athlete, but then again, neither was J.S. Giguere and look what kind of hardware he delivered to Anaheim. His development is ahead of where many thought it would be at this point, but it's better to see if he can dominate this season with the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL before we recommend him for deep keeper formats. Watch and wait.