Newark, NJ – The longer New Jersey Devils’ general manager Tom Fitzgerald is quiet, the larger the speculation grows. Part of the speculation is fan driven. The remainder is media driven. No one in the NHL media is more influential than Sportsnets Elliotte Friedman, however, and he adds Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson to the mix as a potential Devils acquisition.
“Look, John Gibson wants a trade,” Friedman explains on the latest 32 Thoughts the Podcast. “The Anaheim Ducks want to accommodate it. I think the Ducks have found this process harder than they thought (it would be). Now one of the things here, I have no doubt that Pat Verbeek is asking a lot. There’s a lot of goalies on the market. Gibson has a bit of an injury history. I know that it’s been a little bit of a concern to some teams. But the fact is, he’s an incredibly talented guy. And there’s a lot of people out there who believe that in a winning situation, which Anaheim isn’t in right now, he is going to take off. I know there’s some people out there who really know Gibson and really like Gibson, who would bet on him in that situation.”
There’s so much to take away from this. Gibson would certainly be in a winning situation in New Jersey. It’s easy to see how he’d thrive in a new environment. Despite a 3.99 GAA and .899 SV% last season, those numbers are actually decent compared to how many shots Gibson faced and the team playing in front of him. However, the Devils have dealt with an injury-laden goaltender before in Mackenzie Blackwood. They shipped him off to San Jose when they realized he couldn’t stay healthy. Does Fitzgerlad want to put himself back in that same situation? If he does, there’s the acquisition cost. How high could Verbeek really value Gibson? Is he worth giving up a plethora of assets with such injury risk and four years remaining on his contract that carries a $6.4 million AAV?
“One of the teams I think everybody’s kind of wondering about is, are the Devils going to go into next season with Vitek Vaneck and Akira Schmid as their tandem?” Friedman speculates. “Even though I think they really like Shmid a lot. Do they think they can win a Stanley Cup with that tandem? And that’s going to be a question until basically next season starts or even into next season if they start with those two goalies. So that’s where I think it stands right now. I’ve heard Gibson is prepared to be patient with this. But as it stands at this time, he doesn’t have a long list of teams he really wants to go to, and also the Ducks value him very highly. So it’s a slow process, and it’s been a challenge for Anaheim to pull this off so far.”
Certainly, the Devils will benefit from an upgrade in their crease. Gibson is a gamble considering how much money and term is committed to him and his injury history. Especially when there are goaltenders like All-Star Logan Thompson on the trade market. His cap hit is just $766,667 for the next two seasons. If the Devils were going to pay for anyone, someone like Thompson seems to be the right add.
Friedman also acknowledges that Gibson did not claim he won’t play another game for the Ducks again, despite recent reports.
Let’s get to some news.
New Jersey Devils
New Jersey Hockey Now: If you missed it, yesterday was all about Connor Hellebuyck.
NHL Network: For what it’s worth, Bruce Boudreau shares the same sentiment as Friedman that Gibson would thrive in a new, successful environment.
John Gibson's days in Anaheim seem to be coming to an end.
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) July 6, 2023
National Hockey Now
Buffalo Hockey Now: The Devils aren’t the only team Friedman is talking about, we promise. According to the Sportsnet insider, the Sabres top priority is to get Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power locked down long-term.
Detroit Red Wings
Detroit Hockey Now: After clearing waivers, Filip Zadina remains a Red Wing. According to a report, that made Steve Yzerman happy. However, there’s new speculation that he can be placed on waivers again, this time with the intent to terminate his contract.
Colorado Hockey Now: Newly acquired Ross Colton is due for a pay raise following a couple of impactful seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 26-year-old forward elected for arbitration with the Avs on Wednesday.
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