Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson has had a very strong start to the 2019-2020 season. In 8 games played this season, he owns a 4-4-0 record with a .927% save percentage and a 2.24 goals-against average. Some people may think his strong start is a fluke but that simply is not the case.
John Gibson’s Strong Start Is Not Surprising
John Gibson has quietly been one of, if not the best goalie in the NHL over the past few seasons. From him stealing wins for the Ducks numerous times over the past few years to quietly posting absurd numbers, John Gibson has cemented himself on top of the NHL goalie totem for good. Here is why his strong start is no fluke.
Ever since John Gibson became a regular in the NHL in 2014-15, he has been a very solid goaltender. His lowest save percentage throughout his NHL career is .914 and his highest goals-against average is 2.60. These totals are at the league average but remember that these are his career lows. In the past, his play has consistently stolen games for the Ducks. There was a span late last year in December where the Ducks were struggling mightily. If not for John Gibson standing on his head every night, the Ducks would have been out of playoff contention a lot earlier. However, it was an unfortunate injury last season that derailed part of the Ducks year. Gibson remains calm and composed no matter the situation he is faced with. He does not let a bad goal phase him, he simply shrugs it off and moves on.
Last year was a rough season for the Ducks. They had rough stretches of play but they also had stretches where they looked unstoppable. In late December, the Ducks were starting to struggle a little bit but were still winning some games. When Gibson went down with a concussion, the Ducks just completely collapsed. They went on a ten-game losing streak and didn’t even look like an NHL team. This proves how valuable Gibson is to the Ducks.
Even backup Ryan Miller who has had a solid few years in Anaheim couldn’t right the ship. The Ducks system bled too many shots for it to be effective and it really showed how much they depended on a healthy Gibson. Without that, they were just lost and that led to a massive loss of ground in the Pacific Division.
The most important stats when looking at goalies are the number of shots they’ve faced, their goals against and their save percentage. These stats are measured at even strength, on the power play and while shorthanded.
Gibson’s career stats at even strength are 5730 shots faced, 427 goals against and a .925% save percentage.
On the power play, his career stats are: 157 shots faced, 10 goals against and a .936 save percentage.
While shorthanded, his career stats are: 1198 shots faced, 118 goals against and a .902 save percentage.
John Gibson’s stats are similar to elite goalies in the league like Andrei Vasilevskiy (.925% save percentage at even strength, .944% on the power play and a .881% save percentage while shorthanded) and Ben Bishop (.926% save percentage at even strength, .918% save percentage on the power play and a .894% save percentage while shorthanded). He has shown that he can stop pucks with some of the best goalies from last season.
No one can argue with the fact that John Gibson is an elite goalie in the NHL. His statistics and his play on a nightly basis prove he is one of the best goalies on the planet. His strong start this season is no fluke. He is just being himself. The Ducks need to take advantage of this going forward. Finding an elite goalie in the NHL is no easy task.