Fantasy goalie dilemma: Gibson vs. Andersen

Monday, 08.18.2014 / 12:00 PM | Matt Sitkoff  - Contributor

What a difference a year makes for the Anaheim Ducks. Gone are the two goaltenders that started the 2012-13 NHL season, Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth, replaced for this season by rookie John Gibson and second-year player Frederik Andersen.

Andersen, 24, started Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and then, when injuries forced him out of action, the Ducks called up Gibson from the American Hockey League to start what became the remaining four games against the Los Angeles Kings.

Gibson, 21, burst onto the stage when he was named MVP of the United States' gold-medal run at the 2013 World Junior Championship. When he faced the Canucks in his NHL debut on April 7, 2014, the 39th pick of the 2011 NHL Draft became the first goalie in Ducks history to record a shutout in his Anaheim debut.

The Pittsburgh native won his next four starts, including being the youngest goalie in NHL history to record a shutout in his playoff debut. His luck would run out with losses in Game 6 and 7 against the eventual Stanley Cup champions, but it was a great introduction for the talented goalie.

Andersen started the season playing for Norfolk in the AHL with Gibson but, after starting his NHL career 6-0-0, he was called up to the League for good after January. He was tied for 10th among NHL goaltenders in goals-against average (2.29), tied for eighth in save percentage (.923 in regular season), and led rookies in wins, GAA and SV Pct., and was named to the NHL All-Rookie team.

It allowed the Ducks to trade Fasth to the Edmonton Oilers on March 4, and Hiller to sign with the Calgary Flames as a free agent this offseason.

If you have to choose between Andersen and Gibson, the better fantasy asset right now is the younger Gibson. Andersen struggled in his postseason run with a .899 save percentage in seven games. Gibson stopped 185 of his first 198 shots in the regular season and playoffs (.934).

With these numbers, Gibson has the potential to be a top goalie right away in the NHL. It's likely he will be a finalist for the Calder Trophy. We still expect a time share, so if you can get both goalies on your team you'll be set up with one of the top teams in the Western Conference. Targeting the tandem can pay dividends for a fantasy team.

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