Ducks extending goaltender John Gibson is a win for both parties

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) - Anaheim Ducks
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) - Anaheim Ducks /

The Anaheim Ducks rewarded their number one goaltender John Gibson with a hefty contract extension that benefits both himself and the team in the present and the foreseeable future.

The Anaheim Ducks have locked in the backbone of their defense for the long haul, signing goaltender John Gibson to an eight-year extension worth $51.2 million (AAV, average annual value is $6.4 million per year). This was a transaction the Ducks had to get done sooner rather than later.

Gibson is a cornerstone to the Ducks’ present and future. Without him, the Ducks are probably not a playoff team in the highly competitive Western Conference. With him, the Ducks are arguably on the verge of contention with their current group of players.

Goaltending is often an overlooked element of the game. Fans focus on the forwards and defensemen since they drive the play up and down the ice.

But with the modern game evolving into a speedier, quicker style of play, goaltending is even more important because pucks need to be stopped from entering the net in increased volume from medium and high danger areas.

Goaltending is valuable. Better yet, great goaltending is even more valuable. It makes a huge difference where a team stands. This is where Gibson falls; he is one of the best at his position.

With Gibson signing with the Ducks, he is making a big commitment to the team and the team is making a big commitment to him. In this sense, they value each other on the same level in this relationship knowing that one cannot be as successful without the other. The Ducks need Gibson and Gibson needs the Ducks.

With an essential belief in each other, we look at why Gibson’s extension is positive for both himself and the Ducks as an organization.

Why the signing is good for John Gibson:

  • Quick Hits #1: Gibson gets paid. 

Gibson enters this season on the final year of a three year, $6.9 million dollar contract (AAV: $2.3 million). The extension is a substantial one and complements his increased workload. Gibson will finally be paid like a number one goalie.

  • Quick Hits #2: Gibson gets to stay where he always wanted to play, Anaheim. 

Not all athletes or even regular people get to choose where they want to work sometimes. Location should not be underestimated. In the case of Gibson, the Ducks rewarded him with his preferred destination.

  • Quick Hits #3: In line with #1, Gibson is firmly entrenched as the number one goaltender in Anaheim.

Its good for the 25-year old because its his crease and his opportunity to prove to himself and the organization that the best from him is yet to come. He will probably start and play in at least 60 of the 82 games this season.

Why the signing is good for the Anaheim Ducks

  • Goal scored #1: Gibson is signed at a low cap hit. 

At $6.4 million per year, you may be thinking that its a bit high. But think about it this way. Its hard to find great, young goaltenders (see Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy & Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray).

They are at a premium. It’s a sure thing that exceptional goaltenders will be paid highly because the position is becoming even more important to a team’s success. As a result, Gibson’s extension will age very well for the Ducks.

  • Goal scored #2: The Anaheim Ducks get Gibson in all his prime years.

Arguably, Gibson is on the verge of entering his prime in the next year or two. The Ducks will see him perform for them at his physical peak. Think about it in this context.

A lavish eight-year contract extension of $10.5 million/year was given to Montreal’s Carey Price at age 30, and a seven-year one for $8.5 million/year given to New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist at age 31. Not really smart by either team as both will be past their primes in the middle years of their contracts.

  • Goal scored #3 (Hat trick!): Most importantly, the Anaheim Ducks stay competitive. 

Gibson kept the Ducks in nearly every game last season, especially with the astounding amount of shots he faced (1,733 total shots over 60 games played, 33.1 shots/game).

Gibson manning the crease ensures the Ducks stay one of the best defensive teams in the NHL (2.55 goals allowed per game last season, 3rd in NHL). When healthy, Gibson provides much-needed stability in the net  Oh yeah, his teammates also love him.

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The Ducks signing John Gibson is rewarding twofold. While personally, the Anaheim Ducks give Gibson the role, the destination, and the money he wanted, the team has ultimately demonstrated their faith in him. Signed to a very reasonable cap and still very young, the Ducks have essentially identified him as a crucial and foundational piece tied to the success of the franchise.