The Anaheim Ducks had a nightmare season in 2018-19, but they should be much better in the 2019-20 season. Here are three reasons why.
For most of the past decade, the Anaheim Ducks success has been determined by the postseason. They’ve made the postseason seven times in 10 seasons, advancing to the Western Conference Final twice. Unfortunately, the Ducks have nothing to show for it.
The 2019-20 season will be the first one in a while that the Ducks will begin with lowered expectations. A changing of the guard was going to have to happen eventually, and it should start this season.
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However, Ducks fans should be optimistic about their team heading into the 2019-20 season. Let’s take a look at three reasons why Anaheim should have optimism.
The Ducks shouldn’t make the postseason in 2019-20. They made no major improvements outside of their organization to a roster that didn’t even score 200 goals last season. Improvements from within the organization will happen, but they likely won’t be enough to make the Ducks a serious contender.
However, Anaheim has a not so secret weapon in goaltender John Gibson. The ultimate determining factor when it comes to making the postseason and not making the postseason can be your goaltending. Few teams are in better shape than the Ducks.
When he’s healthy, Gibson is arguably the best goaltender in the NHL. He led all goaltenders last season in GSAA (goals saved above average) at five-on-five. Furthermore, Gibson finished on top during all situations. In short, no goaltender did more to help their team last season than Gibson.
The 2014-15 season from Carey Price is the gold standard for goaltenders. He carried the Montreal Canadiens to the postseason and won the Ted Lindsay Award, Hart Trophy, and Vezina Trophy. Gibson is fully capable of meeting that bar because, well, he actually did. He had a higher GSAA during all situations in 2017-18 than Price did in 2013-14.
Gibson is backed up by the timeless Ryan Miller, who is laughing at Father Time. Despite being 39 years old, he’s still one of the most reliable backup goaltenders around. The Ducks chances of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs are quite low, but thanks to Gibson and Miller, they are existent.