Poll: Anaheim Goalie Shuffle

Photo: Christine Cotter, AP

Photo: Christine Cotter, AP

By Adam Bess

As of tonight, January 7th, we are 55 days away from the NHL Trade Deadline on February 29th. The Anaheim Ducks, in the midst of turning their season around, find themselves with four NHL-caliber goaltenders. Frederik Andersen, John Gibson, Anton Khudobin, and newly acquired Dustin Tokarski are all under contract in Anaheim. While their roles vary from AHL starter to bonafide NHL starter, all four goalies have NHL experience and are capable of at least being backups for the Ducks. Andersen will be an RFA, Khudobin a UFA this summer, while Gibson is about to enter a 3-year 6.9 million dollar contract. Tokarski, acquired from the Montreal Canadiens this morning for Max Friberg, will be an RFA at the end of this season.

Let’s take a look at each goalie individually.

Frederik Andersen entered the season as the Ducks unquestioned starter, but poor team play overall and a serious flu allowed Gibson to step in. Some are calling for Andersen to be the one traded, as he could bring a good return and Gibson is already signed for the next several years. They are forgetting what Andersen has done for the Ducks in the past, helping win the division and making a deep playoff run last year. Andersen has posted a .913 save percentage and a 2.50 GAA this year. Those numbers aren’t all-star, but he posted those stats during the worst part of the Ducks season. The team overall was doing poorly, but he still played well. Andersen deserves to be a starter in the NHL and if the Ducks can’t give him the starts, it could be wise to trade him before he could walk in the summer or be traded for less. He can help another team, getting the time he deserves, while the Ducks can get a solid player in return.

John Gibson, recently named All-Star, has lived up to the loads of hype he has garnered in the minors. After his shutout NHL debut and shutout playoff debut, Gibson has bounced between Anaheim and AHL affiliate San Diego Gulls this season. Since Andersen’s injury and Khudobin’s faltering this year, Gibson has taken his new role in stride as the Ducks starter. His play has certainly played a part in the Ducks turnaround season. In 16 games, the 22 year old has posted .929 save percentage and 1.76 GAA, earning 4 shutouts along the way. Next year he starts a 3-year, 6.9 million dollar season and looks to be the Ducks starting goalie for years. However, if the Ducks were to turn to Andersen, Gibson could see his starts dwindle or perhaps a stint in the AHL again. He could even be traded; it’s very difficult to decipher what GM Bob Murray is planning and no one is safe if the right deal comes along.

Anton Khudobin is currently the AHL starter, but with Tokarski’s arrival that could change. Khudobin suffered from playing when the team was doing poorly and his stats were poor enough that he was not claimed off waivers despite being capable of being a solid backup in the NHL. He may be unhappy in San Diego and could be the goalie to go if Murray could find a good trading partner. As mentioned in an article by TSN’s Frank Seravalli, Khudobin’s salary cap hit is $2.25 million as opposed to Andersen’s $1.15 million, so that could make trading Khudobin a bit more difficult. For more on Seravalli’s story please visit: Could Ducks’ Goalie Andersen Be On The Move?

Dustin Tokarski could have been acquired to help San Diego during the home stretch of the season or to be a precursor to a bigger trade as Eric Stephens of the OC Register suggested earlier today. Gibson’s injury last night against Toronto was deemed not serious and he is 100%. Tokarski is very capable of being an AHL starter and the Ducks could either sign him or trade his rights as an RFA in the offseason. If Andersen was to be traded, Tokarski would battle with Khudobin for the backup position. If Khudobin was traded, Tokarski would be the AHL starter. Eric Stephens discussed the possibility of either Andersen or Khudobin being traded in his latest article today. To read Stephen’s story please visit: Ducks Acquire Goalie Dustin Tokarski For Prospect Max Friberg

It is unlikely that two out of the four goalies are traded. Murray likes to have a solid backup if one of his two NHLers get injured. If Andersen is the one traded, it would be wise to send such a solid goalie to the Eastern Conference where the Ducks wouldn’t face him much. The returning player would hopefully be a scoring winger to help with the Ducks offensive woes.

Murray has been a wizard time and again. We must hope that he will pull his magic again when it comes to the goalie situation in Anaheim. It’s possible that none of the goalies will be traded this season, but at some point or another the goalie shuffle must be addressed.

Who do you think will be traded? What return will they fetch? Let us know in the poll and the comments!

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