While the Anaheim Ducks are far from a contender, one area where they do have some depth is in net. Even with Ryan Miller retiring at the end of the season, the Ducks’ situation in goal could be worth keeping an eye on over the next year or two.
John Gibson was a clear starter once again this season but he hasn’t really been the star he was a couple years ago. He got off to an outstanding start this year, before a really rough stretch between mid-February and mid-March, which was capped off by injury trouble. He has just a .904 save percentage this year overall, which is identical to what he posted last year. Obviously, a huge part of that can be attributed to Anaheim’s poor defensive play but Gibson also hasn’t been as consistent as he was in previous years.
We can expect Anthony Stolarz will backup Gibson next season but it remains to be seen as to how big of a role Stolarz could earn. He’s already 27 years old and still has just 34 career games of NHL experience but he’s been great for the Ducks in his limited action this season, posting an impressive .926 save percentage in eight games.
Last year as well, he was great with the AHL’s San Diego Gulls, managing a .922 save percentage across 39 games. Really, if you take out the 2018-19 campaign, the year after he missed almost a full season due to a knee injury, he’s been very good in nearly every season at every level he’s played at. It’s still hard to tell where Stolarz’s ceiling really is but he’ll get a better opportunity next season.
Then there’s Lukas Dostal. The 20-year-old netminder was selected by the Ducks in the third-round of the 2018 NHL Draft and is already posting impressive numbers in the AHL. Dostal currently holds a .913 save percentage in 21 games with the San Diego Gulls, this coming a year after he posted an excellent .928 save percentage in 43 games while playing in Finland’s top professional league.
Dostal shouldn’t be called up before he’s ready, especially with Gibson and Stolarz already up with the Ducks, but I’d imagine it isn’t too long before he starts pushing for an NHL spot. He projects as a future starting goalie and could be a star with Anaheim down the road. If Dostal does continue to develop well and Stolarz proves himself as being capable of taking on a decent workload, there's always the possibility that it could be worthwhile to see what John Gibson's trade value would be.
There was a bit of speculation about a potential John Gibson trade this season and while I don’t think that’s likely, it at least warranted a bit of thought. If the Ducks can manage a steady situation in net without Gibson, moving him for the right price could be the best play.
The key to this is that Anaheim doesn't have a competitive team and likely won't for a few years. Gibson is turning 28 years old this summer and despite a very good contract (assuming he bounces back), he’d be on the wrong side of 30 years old before the Ducks are truly competing again. Moving him in his prime for a huge return, rather than keep him around on a rebuilding club while his value likely declines as he ages, may be something to consider.
Again, I don’t think the Ducks have any interest in moving Gibson now but I do think that Anaheim’s goaltending situation could play out in a way over the next year or two where that becomes more of a reality. At the very least, the Ducks' situation in net could be something to keep an eye on going forward.
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Do you think Lukas Dostal will take over as Anaheim's starting goalie at some point in the next few years?