Skip to content

Boudreau doesn’t know how Ducks goalie situation will ‘shake out’

Aug 30, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

Bruce Boudreau AP

For better or worse, Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau seems to be the type who “rides the hot hand” with goalies rather than sticking with a No. 1 guy no matter what. It’s easy to foresee such a situation repeating itself next season, too.

While Jason LaBarbera represents an emergency backup plan for a variety of situations, the battle comes down to two promising-yet-largely-untested options in Frederik Andersen and John Gibson. Boudreau’s assessment of the situation to NHL.com is honest, if nothing else:

“We think we’ve got two really good goalies and an experienced, veteran goalie,” Boudreau said. “I think we’re OK there, I just don’t know how it will shake out.”

Quite a bargain

The Ducks are taking an interesting and calculated gamble with their goalies.

Whether it’s Andersen – Gibson, Gibson – LaBarbera or Andersen – LaBarbera, the combined cap hit never rises above $2 million. In a league brimming with contenders who have made beefy, long-term commitments to a position that’s often erratic, Anaheim enjoys rare flexibility.

Of course, the flip side is that they face even more uncertainty than usual; while LaBarbera is an experienced (if unremarkable) journeyman at 34, Gibson, 21, and Andersen, 24, combine for 42 NHL appearances counting the regular season and playoffs.

Hindsight will dictate if the Ducks’ strategy will be considered brilliant or foolish, yet it falls into the larger narrative quite well.

Boudreau and goalies

It’s easy to beat up on the Boudreau for a tendency to rotate netminders, but it’s also fair to note that he’s rarely been handed a reliable top goalie. As great as Semyon Varlamov was last season in Colorado, he never managed to play more than 27 regular season games for the Washington Capitals in large part because of injury issues. Departed Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller suffered from his own bad luck and his numbers dipped when he was able to play. It’s difficult to argue that Boudreau has enjoyed any better long-term options through the years, so it’s not as if he’s flippantly benching people like a more robust Mike Keenan.

Long story short, it’s easier to criticize Boudreau’s practices than it is to point out what precisely he should have done differently, yet the Ducks face arguably more uncertainty than ever in net going into the 2014-15 season.

It’s interesting to note that Anaheim has been unusually willing to let goalies walk, too. Many franchises would cling to a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe-winner like Jean-Sebastien Giguere, yet they transitioned to Hiller quite seamlessly and also parted ways with a then-promising backup in Ilya Bryzgalov. One could argue that the GM and coach see eye-to-eye on this matter as much as any in Anaheim, really.

***

The Ducks have been a fixture in the playoff picture through many of these seasons, but Boudreau has never coached a conference final series in the NHL. Being less chained to goalies might actually be the best strategy, yet it could be one of the talking points if this coach continues to fall short of expectations in the postseason.

Of course, the advantage is simple enough: the Ducks can easily hit the “Reset” button once again if this doesn’t work out.

Latest Posts
  1. Video: Lundqvist helps lead Rangers back to New York for Game 7

    May 27, 2015, 12:59 AM EDT

    Henrik Lundqvist Getty Images

    Almost completely shut the door through two periods.

  2. TVR time? Quenneville hints at changes on defense for Game 6

    May 26, 2015, 10:29 PM EDT

    Getty Images

    Timonen is averaging under 10 minutes of ice time per game in playoffs.

  3. Video: Lundqvist stones Stamkos with left-pad save

    May 26, 2015, 9:16 PM EDT

    Getty Images

    New York scored to make it 2-0 soon after that.

  4. Video: Brassard opens scoring for Rangers in Game 6

    May 26, 2015, 8:52 PM EDT

    AP

    New York needs the win to force Game 7.

  5. No NHL-first offer has been made for Seattle arena, says Hansen

    May 26, 2015, 8:13 PM EDT

    Chris Hansen AP

    “We’ve had a lot of informal discussions with people about this, but us or the city have yet to be presented with any kind of offer.”

  6. Holland to meet with Blashill this week, hasn’t expanded candidate list

    May 26, 2015, 6:29 PM EDT

    Colorado Avalanche v Detroit Red Wings Getty Images

    “I’ve had some people reach out to me,” the Red Wings GM said.

  7. Hitch has ‘unfinished business’ with the Blues

    May 26, 2015, 5:24 PM EDT

    Ken Hitchcock AP

    Meanwhile, GM Doug Armstrong says, “Show me a well-liked coach, and I’ll show you a losing coach.”

  8. Wild reporter pegs Dubnyk deal at ‘well north of $3 million per’

    May 26, 2015, 4:31 PM EDT

    Devan Dubnyk AP

    Michael Russo of the StarTribune being the reporter.

  9. Bob Clarke really doesn’t care for tanking

    May 26, 2015, 3:55 PM EDT

    2011 NHL Entry Draft - Rounds 2-7 2011 NHL Entry Draft - Rounds 2-7

    “The Flyers have never intentionally tried to lose. That would put a foul taste in my mouth. “

  10. ‘I’ve got no issues’ with Hitchcock, says Blues captain Backes

    May 26, 2015, 2:46 PM EDT

    Ken Hitchcock, David Backes, Dmitrij Jaskin, Paul Stastny, Patrik Berglund Getty Images

    “Does he ride guys hard and has he been on my case at times, where it’s made me angry? Yes. But he does it in the light of trying to make our team better, trying to make each individual player better.”

  11. In defense of Yandle, who’s ‘trying to make some plays’

    May 26, 2015, 2:14 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Rangers - Game Five Getty Images

    Had a bad giveaway in Game 5, but those giveaways are going to happen occasionally.

  12. Paquette ‘very questionable’ for Bolts after Game 5 shot block

    May 26, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Four Getty Images

    Could be held out of tonight’s potential series-clinching tilt.

  13. Preds, Volchenkov have discussed new deal

    May 26, 2015, 1:10 PM EDT

    Arizona Coyotes v Nashville Predators Getty Images

    But there’s nothing imminent, according to his agent.

  14. Hossa’s age just one of the challenges facing Blackhawks

    May 26, 2015, 12:34 PM EDT

    Marian Hossa, Ryan Kesler Marian Hossa, Ryan Kesler

    The 36-year-old played just 14:44 last night in Anaheim.

Featured video

End of an era coming for Blackhawks?
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. M. Zuccarello (3359)
  2. H. Lundqvist (2216)
  3. S. Stamkos (1956)
  4. M. Carle (1521)
  5. R. Nash (1503)
  1. M. Babcock (1452)
  2. B. Bishop (1405)
  3. N. Horton (1265)
  4. M. Beleskey (1236)
  5. K. Yandle (1224)