The Washington Capitals have a busy offseason ahead, and one of the biggest tasks at hand is solving their goaltending problem. There are several names of interest with regard to free agency and the trade market, and now, another goalie is potentially available: Anaheim Ducks netminder John Gibson.
Per Sportsnet’s Nick Alberga, Gibson informed the Ducks that he is open to a trade this offseason. Taking that into account, should the Capitals inquire about Gibson?
Over nine seasons in Anaheim, Gibson has gone 370-166-148 with a .915 save percentage and 2.67 GAA. He helped lead Anaheim to the Western Conference Final back in 2017 and had shown great consistency and poise hearing into 2019-20. However, amid the pandemic, his numbers have dipped; his save percentage hasn’t been higher than a .904. Still, that doesn’t just fall on him, as the Ducks haven’t been the strongest club over the years.
Over the course of his career, though, the 28-year-old has lived up to the hype that led him to being the top-ranked netminding prospect in 2011. He has great size and agility and has showcased his play and potential to be one of the top netminders in the league. Plus, a change of scenery and a new system in front of him could prove to benefit him going forward. And ultimately, in the end, he’s a proven No. 1 that can make a major impact.
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However, he does come with a high price. Gibson carries a cap hit of $6.4 million, and although the Capitals should have some space to work with this offseason if Justin Schultz and Michal Kempny do in fact depart, that’s still a lot to pay for a netminder when the team also has pressing needs at the forward position. Tom Wilson will likely be out until at least December, and Nicklas Backstrom’s status is unclear.
Not only that, but the team also has to address whether or not to hold on to Vitek Vanecek, Ilya Samsonov or both. Vanecek and Samsonov are both RFAs. While a trade could be viable, that would leave the team without much leeway with regard to saving salary, unless of course another name is included there or salary is retained.
Plus, there are still several top free-agent options to explore, as names like Darcy Kuemper and Ville Husso are going to hit the market.
In the end, it would be worth at least inquiring, but if there’s no salary retained, it would be a high cost for a potentially high reward, and that’s a fine line that may not be the wisest to walk at this point in time since the Stanley Cup window is closing and the Capitals are coming off four consecutive first-round exits.