It’s a ready-made joke: John Gibson got locked into two long-term contracts in one day.
In one momentous afternoon, Gibson bundled his personal and professional life. He signed an eight-year contract extension Saturday with the Ducks and got married in his hometown of Pittsburgh.
“It was a lot to take in,” Gibson said. “Obviously we were talking a lot before and, with my agent in town for the wedding, it was something we tried to get done and it was fortunate enough that it was able to get done in the same day and kind of have a big celebration. Me and my wife are very happy and excited to be in Anaheim for the next nine years.”
Gibson spoke with reporters Tuesday before he was to fly to Anaheim for a day and then spend a week honeymooning in Hawaii. It’s been quite the ride for the 25-year-old, but Gibson always knew the wheel would stop with him manning the net in Anaheim long-term.
“It felt like home from the beginning,” Gibson said. “Obviously you have to get used to it. But now, being there for years … me and my wife bought a house out there. It’s exciting that we know we’ll be there for the future. I’m very excited about it.”
The extension, worth $6.4 million annually, officially cements Gibson as the Ducks franchise goalie. That organizational decision was effectively made when the Ducks traded Frederik Andersen in 2016. The lingering questions are Gibson’s durability and the outlook for his team.
Gibson has notable wear for a young goalie, starting with a major groin injury in 2014. His 60 games last season were the most in his NHL career, as he dealt with upper and lower body injuries. He removed himself from games several times, to the point where backup Ryan Miller was jokingly called the best relief goalie in hockey.
“Definitely, I want to make sure I get stronger and everything this summer,” Gibson said. “Last year [I had] injuries that were lingering on a bit and I never really fully got better, so I definitely made sure I focused on that … and kind of take care of it this summer to make sure I can come back with no restrictions or limitations and get that under control, which I did. I’m definitely excited about the upcoming season.”
When Gibson is healthy and sharp, he approaches elite status. He said he’s learned the balance between using his athleticism and being aggressive and knowing “when I need to sit back. I think I’m learning how to use it better and how to control it. I’m definitely a lot better than a couple of years ago.”
That would go a long way in the Ducks’ response to a first-round playoff sweep. Their stars are in their 30s, and their major summer acquisitions were defensemen Luke Schenn and Andrej Sustr. They do have shiny young pieces such as Rickard Rakell and Brandon Montour, and Miller can mentor Gibson for another season.