Andersen was very solid during the 2015-16 season (2.30 GAA, .919 SV% through 43 GP), but Gibson was better (2.07 GAA, .920 SV% through 40 GP) and younger making Freddy expendable.
On June 20th, 2016, Toronto acquired Andersen in exchange for a first-round pick (30th overall) in the 2016 draft and a second-round pick in the 2017 draft. He was signed to a five-year, $25M contract and has been the starter ever since.
Fast-forward to the present. Significant changes have been made throughout the Maple Leafs’ lineup, yet the goaltending situation remains more-or-less the same.
The organization has undoubtedly been pleased with Andersen’s play during the last four seasons – despite his penchant for allowing soft goals in do-or-die playoff games.
Regardless of how Freddy plays this season, it’s his contract year. Finding enough space to re-sign him under the salary cap could be a tricky venture depending on the desired term/asking price.
But if not Andersen, then who? There are a couple of goalies who could be had via trade, for the right price.
The Leafs have naturally been linked to multiple goaltenders as rumors continue to swirl, but Gibson isn’t a name that is often circulated. In a lot of ways, he would be a great fit.
Anaheim missed the playoffs both last season and the season before. Big changes could be on the way if the organization decides to officially enter a rebuild.
Do the Ducks have to play for the Stanley Cup for GM Bob Murray to keep his job? No. Do they have to make playoffs? @icemancometh isn’t sure.
That’s one of the big questions the Ducks face heading into next season. ⤵️https://t.co/1Le7zfF4lG
— The Athletic L.A. (@TheAthleticLA) November 2, 2020
Ducks’ GM Bob Murray has consistently stated that Anaheim is ‘retooling’ and not ‘rebuilding’, but they seem light-years away from being a playoff team.
Gibson comes with a wealth of accolades, especially considering he’s only been a true starter for four seasons. In 2015-16, he earned a spot on the NHL All-Rookie Team as well as the Jennings trophy. He has also finished in the top-10 of Vezina trophy voting on two separate occasions.
Anaheim’s biggest problem has been waiting on the development of key prospects including Max Comtois, Sam Steel, and Max Jones. That, combined with inconsistent all-around production from the roster in general, has really set this team back.
Gibson is now 27 years old and could be on the backend of his prime before the Ducks are competitive again, so perhaps both sides are ready to part ways. The Pittsburgh native signed an 8-year, $51.2M deal ($6.4M AAV) that began last season.
In year three of the contract (2021-22), a modified no-trade clause kicks in; therefore, Anaheim only has so much time before dealing him becomes a lot more difficult.
Some may look at Gibson’s numbers from last season and worry (20-26-5 record with a 3.00 GAA and a .904 SV% over 51 games), but keep in mind that the Ducks were awful last season. Gibson’s career averages (2.53 GAA, .918 SV%) are far more reflective of the goaltender he actually is.
Acquiring him for the right price is certainly within the realm of possibility. A potential return would likely include something along the lines of Andersen, Alex Kerfoot, and a couple of draft picks (with at least one being within the top two rounds of a future draft).
Kerfoot would immediately become a key player in the Ducks’ top-six – a forward corps where Adam Henrique (26 goals and 43 points through 71 games) led the squad in scoring last season.
Andersen would provide a stop gap starting option, giving Anaheim another season to figure out their crease.
Anaheim currently has very little depth in goal (they don’t even have a backup signed at this point) so it’s not likely they are actively looking to shop Gibson at this very moment. With that being said, Ducks’ prospect Lukas Dostal has been excelling in the Finnish Elite League and could help to push the anti.
Anaheim also looks poised for a couple more losing seasons, so the time to sell high would be now. Especially since Gibson’s play will likely regress in the last 1-2 years of the deal.
The plausibility of such a deal ever happening truly depends on how competitive the Ducks view themselves, as a team, going forward.
They may be better off recouping assets now instead of wasting Gibson’s prime years/peak trade value. Especially given the emergence of Dostal.
It’s pretty early still, but with Lukas Dostal absolutely dominating Liiga and being increasingly called one of the NHL’s elite goalie prospects, it might be time to start wondering if John Gibson should be traded soon
— CJ Woodling (@CJWoodling) October 27, 2020