Anaheim’s top goaltending prospect is back in Norfolk.
After sustaining a groin injury and subsequent rehab, goalie John Gibson has been cleared to play. With Frederik Andersen entrenched in the starter role and Ilya Bryzgalov signed to back up, Gibson is back with the Admirals. Gibson is still waiver exempt, so the Ducks did not have to use a conditioning loan to send him back to the AHL. Goaltending has been a weakness for Norfolk.
image and stats by Josh Weissbock
While Norfolk has been somewhat average in carrying play, they’ve been somewhat unlucky shooting the puck. They’ve also been tanked by goaltending. The main culprits for this are Igor Bobkov and the recently returned Jason Labarbera have been the main culprits, with sub-.900 save percentages. Rookie Ryan Faragher has posted the worst save percentage at .812, though in two games.
Norfolk’s best goaltending has come from Gibson,Bryzgalov, and Yann Danis. These three have posted save percentages post .900, but Bryz and Gibson have played in two games. Danis, brought in out of necessity, has rightfully been the starter for the Ads this season. He has played in 11 games, put up 2 shutouts, and maintained a somewhat league-average .914. He should stay on to platoon with the Ads.
Problem is that the Ducks have $750,000 invested in LaBarbera whereas Danis can be let go at any time. Personally, I feel like this should be addressed. I believe that Anaheim should field any and all offers for LaBarbera, who has essentially been replaced by Bryzgalov. Norfolk should then sign Danis to an SPC, filling in the role Brad Thiessen had last season. Gibson may not be here all season, but I’d rather see a Gibson/Danis tandem than a Gibson/LaBarbera tandem for the time being.
If I had to guess, Gibson will get both starts against Bridgeport this weekend, if he’s up to the challenge. As AHL teams have no roster limits, there’s another option. Danis and/or Labarbera will play this weekend, allowing Gibson to continue his injury rehab in the meantime. Goaltending may have started out rough, but it is getting better. Until LaBarbera starts (probably).
emerson etem recalled by ducks
Goaltending might be improved, but the forward group took a bit of a hit. After Kyle Palmieri was injured in last night’s game against the Maple Leafs, the Ducks recalled winger Emerson Etem. Sent to Norfolk to work on his game, Etem caught some unfortunate luck. First, he was hit by the mumps outbreak. When he returned to the ice, Etem couldn’t find the back of the net. His effort finally paid off on Saturday, with two power play goals against Springfield.
In the meantime, Chris Wagner is back with team. Wagner has been one of the Admirals’ top offensive threats all year, registering 8+5=13 in 14 games. I expect he’ll get lots of ice time this weekend, perhaps the most amongst all forwards.