Talk about a reshuffling in net. Anaheim Ducks GM and now head coach Bob Murray announced today that starting goalie John Gibson and backup Chad Johnson have been placed on the injured reserve. The Athletic’s Eric Stephens adds that Kevin Boyle will make his first NHL start tonight as the Ducks face the Vancouver Canucks and will be backed up by Ryan Miller, who has been activated from the injured reserve.
Gibson, the Ducks’ Vezina-caliber keeper, missed Anaheim’s last game with an undisclosed upper-body injury suffered in his previous game. Murray provided some more clarity on that situation, describing Gibson’s injury as head, neck, and back soreness from being “whacked a whole bunch on one play”. The Ducks’ release noted that Gibson is improving, but the team still opted to place him on IR. Gibson should return to action when the requisite ten days have passed.
As for Johnson, this move seems just as much about moving Miller off of IR as it does the current backup’s status. Officially, Johnson is out with a head injury, but as Stephens notes, he took a puck up high yesterday in practice and was suffering from a headache. While all head injuries should be taken seriously, an IR stint may be considered overkill in this situation. However, the Ducks do not want to carry three goalies for the rest of the season, so have put off the decision – possibly in hopes of solving the problem via trade – by deactivating Johnson and activating Miller, who seemingly has been deemed the better option to backup Boyle in the short term. It remains to be seen if Miller is actually ready to take the net again for Anaheim. He has been sidelined with a knee injury since early December and was not expected back for another few weeks. Hopefully, Boyle can follow up a pretty good NHL debut with a strong start (or several).