According to The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta, the Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs are the suitors for Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson. Though, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said that he does not believe that the Maple Leafs are interested in him.
“Prior to the trade deadline, TFP’s David Pagnotta reported on NHL Network the Ducks have received inquiries about Gibson, who owns a 10-team no-trade list. Fast forward to June and word starts to get out that Gibson is open to the possibility of being dealt, though he has never requested a trade out of Anaheim and has said publicly he’d prefer to stay. Still, multiple sources have indicated he understands a move is possible and the Ducks continue to listen,” Pagnotta wrote in his top-30 offseason trade targets list.
Gibson, who will turn 29 on July 14, went 18-26-11 with a .904 save percentage, a 3.19 goals-against average, and a shutout in 56 games during the 2021-22 season. At five-on-five, he posted a .907 save percentage, a 2.94 goals-against average, a -11.93 goals-saved above average, an .834 high-danger save percentage, a 1.48 high-danger goals-against average, and a 3.11 high-danger goals-saved above average. In addition, Gibson posted an .894 save percentage on the penalty kill.
The lowest save percentage he recorded was .917 in his first four NHL seasons while the highest goals-against average he earned was 2.84 over that time. Over the past three seasons, Gibson has not finished with a save percentage higher than .904 and a goals-against average lower than 2.98 but on a team that ranks 27th in the NHL in points percentage (.457), 23rd in goals-against per game (3.15), and tied for 26th in shots-against per game (32.5).
In 378 career NHL games, all with Anaheim, Gibson, who has five seasons left on a contract that counts $6.4 million against the NHL salary cap, has gone 166-148-51 with a .915 save percentage, a 2.67 goals-against average, and 23 shutouts. He won the Jennings Award with Frederik Andersen in 2015-16, when the two combined to allow the fewest goals-against in the league.
In 26 career postseason outings, Gibson is 11-13 with a .912 save percentage, a 2.80 goals-against average, and a shutout but has not played in one since 2018. He backstopped the Ducks to a Western Conference Final appearance in 2017, where they fell to the Nashville Predators in six games.
The Capitals are in the market for a goalie after Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek both had opportunities to take the No. 1 job during the past two seasons but neither could run with it permanently. Samsonov, 24, finished 2021-22 with a 23-12-5 record, an .896 save percentage, a 3.02 goals-against average, and three shutouts after an 11-1-1 start where he posted a .916 save percentage, a 2.42 goals-against average, and three shutouts through December 9. Vanecek, 25, went 20-12-6 with a .908 save percentage, a 2.67 goals-against average (tied for 17th in NHL), and four shutouts, including a stretch where he went 11-7-4 with a .935 save percentage (third), a 1.96 goals-against average (third), and three shutouts (tied for league lead) from December 16-March 6.
Vanecek entered the postseason as the Capitals’ No. 1 in net but coughed it up after posting an .863 save percentage and a 4.21 goals-against average in the first five periods of the team’s first-round series against the Florida Panthers before Samsonov took the job again and never looked back. Samsonov posted a .912 save percentage and 2.97 goals-against average the rest of the way.
The Capitals have $23.345 million in salary cap space with right-wing Marcus Johansson (pending unrestricted free agent), center Johan Larsson (UFA), defenseman Justin Schultz (UFA), defenseman Michal Kempny (UFA), defenseman Matt Irwin (UFA), and Vanecek in addition to Samsonov (both restricted free agents) up for contract. One goalie is expected to be traded while the other will likely be paired up with a veteran to run as the team’s tandem this upcoming season.
By Harrison Brown