On so many occasions last season, the Ducks were lucky to escape with even a point.
And they often had one man to thank: John Gibson.
The Ducks battled a rash of injuries for much of the season — including repeated visits to the IR from Gibson himself — but when he was healthy, the goaltender was simply stellar. He stood on his head time and again with sprawling save after sprawling save, and Gibson is undoubtedly the No. 1 reason the team qualified for the postseason.
The Ducks rewarded his play with an eight-year contract extension that the team announced Saturday morning. The deal carries an average annual value of $6.4 million, according to a source familiar with the terms.
The 25-year-old was set to reach restricted free agency at the conclusion of next season, but the new deal locks Gibson up through the 2026-27 campaign.
“I’m excited to be a part of this organization for the long term,” said Gibson, who was set to marry his fiancee, Alexa DelGreco, on Saturday in his native Pittsburgh. “Staying with the Ducks was always my preference, and I couldn’t be happier.
"Living in the Orange County community with the great support of our fans, I can’t think of a better place to play. It’s great to be a part of the future of this team moving forward and hopefully bring a Stanley Cup back to Anaheim.”
The eight-year commitment ensures Gibson will man the net in Anaheim for the duration of his prime years — he'll be 33 when the contract expires.
Gibson was selected by the Ducks in the second round (39th overall) of the 2011 draft. He shared netminding duties with Frederik Andersen as a rookie and received consideration for the Calder Trophy. His performance prompted the Ducks to trade Andersen to the Toronto Maple Leafs in June 2016, and Gibson took over the starting gig.
The 6-foot-3 goalie appeared in 60 games last season and boasted a 2.43 goals-against average along with a career-best .926 save percentage. He led all goaltenders after the All-Star break with a 1.95 GAA and a .937 SV%.
“I believe in John Gibson, as does everyone in the organization,” said general manager Bob Murray. “This is obviously a major commitment by the club, but one we feel strongly about.
"John is equally committed to being a Duck. He is only now entering the prime of his career, and we are all confident his best is yet to come.”