John Gibson: The Quiet Face of NHL Goaltending

Many people think of Carey Price, Andrei Vasilevsky, or even Pekka Rinne. No disrespect to those netminders but a 25-year-old Pittsburgh, PA native is quietly outperforming all of them on a subpar team. Gibson has been overlooked and underrated for his entire career. Some bad games on national television and everyone writes him off as ”mediocre at best”. John Gibson and mediocre should never be in the same sentence. That’s just not him.

Since Gibson made his first start, Anaheim’s goaltending situation has been one of the most stable in the league. He made a dazzling first impression on the league by shutting out the Vancouver Canucks in his NHL debut. He then followed that by going 3-0-0 in his first three starts. Later that season, Gibson would appear in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time. He made a valiant first impression on being the first rookie to record a shutout in his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut. Since then John Gibson has been one of the best in the NHL.

Since Gibson’s first NHL Start, he is Top 10 in the league in a multiple categories (minimum 200 games played); save percentage (1st), goals against average (6th), and in winning percentage (5th). In the past three seasons you can argue that he is the best in the NHL as he is Top 5 in the league in multiple statistics (minimum 150 games played); save percentage (1st), goals against average (3rd), and in winning percentage (5th). He was also 10th in shutouts. Gibson has simply been ahead of almost everyone since his entry into the league. It’s almost criminal that the man with; the best save percentage, best goals against average, and best winning percentage in the span of the 2015-16 to 2017-18 seasons, didn’t get a single Vezina finalist in that span. Awards aren’t everything. Let me repeat that, awards aren’t everything.

This season everyone decided to ”hate on” Gibson for his all-star game performance, in which he played through injury and was ”left out to dry” as stated by Drew Doughty. The fact that people write him off just because of this season is atrocious. He led the league in multiple advanced stats and even kept his have percentage up over .915 on a very bad Ducks team. If you say Gibson had a bad year, he had the same or better stats than the following goaltenders; Carey Price, Pekka Rinne, Frederick Andersen, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Connor Hellebuyck. The common theme around the goaltenders I mentioned? They were all on playoff contenders whilst Gibson was on a bottom 10 team. If you put Gibson on any of those teams I will almost guarantee you that he wind the Vezina trophy. He is also said to be a snub by The Hockey Writers. John Gibson was top 10 in multiple categories, Goals Saved Above Average (1st), quality starts (6th), and save percentage (7th among goalies with 50 starts+).

I don’t understand people who state that Gibson isn’t at least top 5 in the league. He should be considered top 3 in the league and maybe be recognized as maybe the best. If only people would get their head out of the clouds and pay attention to west coast hockey. John Gibson is the leagues most underrated and overlooked player, and he is robbed of the recognition he deserves. John Gibson may as well be the best goaltender in the NHL, and fans will still refer to the all-star game as a push back. Oh yeah and not to mention, he’s only 25.

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