If Martin Brodeur wants to post bills advertising his availability as a currently unemployed goaltender then he may want to hit the streets of Anaheim first.
The Ducks placed John Gibson on injury reserve Tuesday afternoon and recalled Igor Bobkov from Norfolk of the AHL. Gibson is expected to miss up to six weeks with a groin injury.
The Ducks were forced to use former NHLer Dwayne Roloson in an emergency back-up role on Sunday night after Gibson was injured during warmups. With its No. 1 goalie Frederik Andersen dealing with a leg injury of his own, Jason Labarbera was forced into starting duty. The Ducks were suddenly in a position of housing the best veteran goaltending tandem 2008-09 never knew.
It was hardly ideal.
With Gibson out for an extended period and Andersen battling back from injury, could the Ducks be a potential fit for an out-of-work veteran like Brodeur?
Brodeur has hardly looked like a four-time Vezina Trophy winner in recent years. In fact, he’s been decidedly below the league average in terms of save percentage. Still, the 42-year old continues to make it known he’s not ready to walk away.
A relatively younger option for the Ducks could be Ilya Bryzgalov.
Bryzgalov was released from a professional tryout with the Minnesota Wild prior to the start of the season, but he was adequate for the club in 12 regular season games and nine playoff appearances late last season after an ugly run with the Edmonton Oilers.
The trade route is also an option, with goaltenders like James Reimer in Toronto and Cam Ward in Carolina routinely mentioned by the trade mongering types.
Both Reimer and Ward would likely come with a price tag, not to mention cap hit, that could prove incompatible with the Ducks. Besides, six weeks is no eternity, and the Ducks appear to have a solid young tandem in place when Andersen and Gibson are healthy.
So what’s next for Anaheim?
Brodeur to Anaheim is not a great fit for either the team or the goaltender. The biggest issue for Brodeur and the Ducks would be what to do with him when Gibson returns.
For what it’s worth, when asked about a potential fit for Brodeur by Sportsnet’s Hockey Central crew last week, Ducks assistant coach Scott Niedermayer didn’t offer much in the way of response.
If one of Bobkov or Labarbera prove incapable of handling semi-regular-to-regular NHL goaltending duties then the Ducks are probably better served to look for temporary help like Bryzgalov.
Bryzgalov hasn’t been great over the past few seasons, but he’s matched or bettered Brodeur in performance over that time span. He’d come cheap and accustomed to a part-time role.
In the meantime, it’s Labarbera/Bobkov or bust for the Ducks.