The New York Rangers have Henrik Lundqvist. The Los Angeles Kings have Jonathan Quick. For now, the Pittsburgh Penguins have Marc-Andre Fleury. The Anaheim Ducks? Good question. From the start of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the biggest question the Anaheim Ducks had was who should be in net. Jonas Hiller finished the regular season with a 2.48 GAA and a .911 SV% and could be considered the only veteran option in net for Anaheim. Frederik Andersen was the go to guy in net for the Ducks as the season closed out, finishing with a 2.29 GAA and a .923 SV%.
The Ducks postseason could only be described as a goalie carousel. Andersen was the Ducks first choice, and got them through their first round series with the Dallas Stars. However, Andersen was yanked from net twice in the series, including the Game 6 OT winner, where the Ducks rallied back in front of Jonas Hiller. With that performance, Hiller earned himself the first two starts in the series with Kings, both losses. Andersen was once again given a chance in Game 3, but he left the game with a lower body injury just ten minutes in. Instead of turning to Hiller in Game 4, Anaheim called up rookie goaltender John Gibson to take over starting duties. Gibson started hot with a shutout in Game 4 and a 4-3 win in Game 5, but lost Game 6 and was chased from the net in Game 7.
The Ducks goalie carousel needs to come to a stop this offseason; a starter must be determined. With the constant change during the postseason, there was no time for the three goaltenders to settle in. Bruce Boudreau his the panic button and tried to find a hot hand.
It is obvious the Ducks do not have confidence in Jonas Hiller, as he was relegated to backup duties for the majority of the postseason, and was skipped over in favor of the rookie. Gibson showed flashes of what he could be in his first two playoff starts, but the subsequent losing performances show he still has some growing to do as a player. Do the Ducks have the guts to name Gibson the starter and ride out the growing pains? If we are using the playoffs as a gauge, it does not seem like they do. Andersen is likely the best choice the Ducks have on the roster right now; he’s young, talented, and showed during the Dallas series that he can give the Ducks a chance to win. Much like Gibson, the Ducks will also need to be patient with Andersen.