Jonas Hiller is gone.
So is Viktor Fasth.
And that leaves John Gibson, 21, and Frederik Andersen, 24 — a couple of goalies with just 27 NHL starts between them — to backstop an Anaheim team with Stanley Cup aspirations.
“It’s funny how this business is,” said Ducks general manager Bob Murray (audio). “We go from having the deepest goaltending, everybody’s talking about it. Now, all of a sudden it’s the two kids, who are very good players.
“It’s the way it’s come about. I’m sure they’re up to the task. I couldn’t see Gibby playing in the minors again this year. That made no sense to me. So we’re going to run with the two kids, and we’ll see how it goes.”
Granted, these aren’t just any kids we’re talking about. Gibson was the second goalie drafted in 2011, and is about as highly touted as it gets. Andersen, meanwhile, had excellent numbers last season for the Ducks (20-5-0, .923 SV%).
It could well be that goaltending is a strength for Anaheim in 2014-15. In fact, Gibson is a popular pick to win the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.
Still, the Ducks have a lot riding on those young shoulders, especially after acquiring Ryan Kesler in the offseason.
And Murray is the first to admit the blue line that will play in front of Gibson and Andersen lacks that elite defenseman, noting that Anaheim had two of them, Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer, on the back end for the 2007 Cup team.
The Ducks have won just two playoff series since winning it all, failing to advance past the second round.
Anaheim kicks off its preseason Monday versus Colorado.