Goaltender John Gibson suffered a lower-body injury in Anaheim’s Wednesday night season-opening win against the Winnipeg Jets, head coach Dallas Eakins confirms. Backup netminder Anthony Stolarz will make his first start of the season Friday night against Minnesota while Lukas Dostal has been recalled to back him up, per the AHL’s transactions page. Eakins also notes that winger Troy Terry will be absent from the game against Minnesota as well, citing a non-COVID-related illness.
Gibson was easily Anaheim’s best player in an impressive 4-1 victory against Winnipeg earlier this week, making 33 saves on 34 shots (.971 save percentage). Now 28 years old, the netminder’s performance this season will be crucial in helping a young team take strides forward from last year’s 17-30-9 record. His health moving forward is paramount for the team’s success.
Stolarz draws into the full-time backup role this season, succeeding the retired Ryan Miller. Drafted in the second round by Philadelphia in 2012, this looks to be his first full-time NHL role. He’s been impressive in limited appearances for Ducks over the past two seasons, posting a 4-4-0 record and .929 save percentage in that time frame.
The absence of Terry can’t be understated either. The 24-year-old was fifth on the Ducks in scoring last season, notching seven goals and 20 points in 48 games. He remains one of the best two-way forwards on the team and could be primed for a breakout campaign this year. Per Eakins, Max Jones will draw in tonight in his place.
Without some core pieces tonight, the Ducks could be in tough to keep the good times rolling against a stout Minnesota Wild team playing in their first game of the season.