A mostly frustrating season for the Anaheim Ducks was equally vexing for their No. 1 goalie, John Gibson. In his seventh full season in Anaheim, the 27-year-old netminder put up numbers that weren't necessarily indicative of his play: a 9-19-7 record with a 2.98 goals-against average and .903 save percentage. He was also playing behind a team that finished last in the league in scoring at 2.21 goals per game, which also endured long-term injuries to its top defensemen.
Gibson, who is in the midst of an eight-year contract that expires in 2026-27, expressed his desire to stay in Anaheim and be part of a hopeful return to a playoff contender when he spoke to the media in his exit interview today.
On the past season
Obviously it was frustrating, and I don't think there's really a whole lot to go on about. Obviously, it was nice to kind of have some fun the last few weeks and play better. But it's only a small sample size throughout the year.
On discussions with the Ducks
I haven't really sat down and talked to coaches or Bob or anything like that. I'm probably going to do it sometime early June whenever I get back. But I haven't really talked about anything as far as what's to be expected moving forward or anything like that. So I'm just gonna go home for a few weeks, spend some time with some family, and then when I get back out here, hopefully be able to sit down and have a few conversations.
On how tough the past year was
It was tough in a lot of ways. Obviously with what everybody was going through with the pandemic, and then whenever you have a long season with some struggles, it makes it longer. But I mean, I think everybody taking a little break is good. You need to kind of recharge and reset.
On Ryan Miller being honored
That was awesome. I know he was saying he talked to some people who kind of announced their retirement before they could be able to get recognized for everything or just kind of if you wanted to just announce that at the end of the year. So, I was happy to see him get the recognition. He deserves that, and to be able to have his wife and son there for the last home game was really awesome. It was a special night, obviously him being able to get the win and then the final game in Minnesota having his mom and dad there. I don't think you would want to go out any other way. I mean, obviously with everything going on, it was fortunate they allowed fans and were able to be there. So I think that definitely made it special for him, and I couldn't be happier for him. It was obviously emotional for everybody, but it was awesome that they were able to be there for him and just be able to share that special day.
On playing with Miller these last four years
It was unbelievable. I grew up watching him when I was younger being a Penguins fan, and I remember watching him playing the Winter Classic and then growing up being in the U.S. program, and he was in the Olympics. He was obviously an easy role model for me to look up to with an American goalie being in the biggest stage in the Olympics, having success and just kind of wanting to follow in his path. And then being able to play with him for the last four years and kind of learn from him and just see how he is, obviously he's a great hockey player and even a better person. And he really has been around the game for so long. He knows a lot of things. Just being able to learn that everyday stuff on and off the ice, it was just incredible.
On his future in Anaheim
I love it here. I told Bob when I signed the deal [an eight-year extension in August 2018] I don't have any intention of playing anywhere else. I love it here, I love the city, I love the fans. Obviously at the same time, I want to win. So I think we've got to start taking some steps forward and trying to figure out what's needed to have that happen. You ask anybody, they want to win. Nobody wants to lose. And it seems like the last few years we kind of found ways to lose games, put ourselves behind the eight ball and maybe get a little comfortable with losing. We have to figure out what's the best plan of action to change and kind of turn the tide.
On the frustration of losing
There are some things you can't control. I try to just go out there every game and give the team the best chance to win. And this year it didn't happen a whole lot. That's the frustrating part, but at the same time, there's only much I can control. I was just trying to make sure I brought it each day, each game and do the best that I can and kind let the rest go. You sit there and you try and worry about all the little things, you drive yourself nuts. So, I was just trying to focus on my game and just give the team the best chance to win night in, night out.
On lack of offensive support
Even in earlier years, we always thought we were going to try and win a game 2-1 or 3-2 and be in close games. I don't think that that's really anything new. That's the way we've found success when we had success. I don't think we were ever really gonna consistently put up six, seven goals. Looking back, when we had the success, it was always the close games. I just think now we're finding ourselves on the wrong end of a lot of them, and we've got to try and try and find ways to get over that hump.
On optimism for the team
I definitely think we've got a lot of good young guys coming up. You saw the sample size of how Jamie [Drysdale] and Z [Trevor Zegras] played. Z at the end of the year, you could see his confidence growing. So, I think that's obviously a bright sign, and hopefully these guys just keep getting better. Next year hopefully having a full season in, hopefully they start out confident and it keeps growing as the season goes.
On if he sees changes coming
We haven't had much success over the last few years, so when that builds up over time, more than likely something's going to change. I wouldn't be surprised if something changes. I think we need to be at least contending for a playoff spot. It seemed like this year after the first month and a half or so of the season, it was going to be tough for us to come back. I don't think anybody wants that. So, I think we need to try and take a step forward, be competing for the playoffs and be a competitive team on a nightly basis.