Ducks send down Lukas Dostal, despite promising performances

When there is the eventual historical review of the Ducks’ rebuild, the month of December will be remembered as an illuminating time for the organization.

That’s when rookie Lukas Dostal showed that he is not only ready for regular NHL duty but, more than that, capable of stealing a game against the likes of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, a career-high 46-save effort in Edmonton on Dec. 17.

And who knows? His emergence might have been the best thing for the ultra-competitive John Gibson.

While Dostal’s performance suggests the future is now, it doesn’t necessarily align with the Ducks’ timeline. Now that there are two healthy goalies, Gibson and Anthony Stolarz on the roster, the Ducks on Sunday reassigned Dostal to their American Hockey League affiliate, the San Diego Gulls.

Stolarz, who practiced on Saturday and Sunday, had been out of action with a lower-body injury since the San Jose Sharks game on Dec. 9. He was activated off injured reserve on Sunday.

This season, in seven NHL games played, which included six starts, Dostal went 2-3-1 with a goals-against average of 3.53 and .909 save percentage, facing an average of 33 shots per game.

At least two things are likely to happen going forward. Given the injury history of Gibson and Stolarz this season, it’s a safe bet that Dostal will be summoned from San Diego at some point in the second half.

Until then, Dostal will be tested on a game-in, game-out basis with the last-place Gulls. Before his recall to Anaheim, Dostal was 6-13 with a 2.88 GAA and .916 save percentage with one shutout in San Diego.

The Gulls, though hit hard with injuries, are firmly in last place overall in the AHL with 16 points in 31 games. The next-to-last-place teams in the AHL are the Bakersfield Condors and Grand Rapids, the minor-league affiliate of another rebuilding team, the Detroit Red Wings. The Condors and Griffins both have 23 points in 29 games.

The last time an NHL team and its AHL both finished in last place was Carolina and Lowell in 2002-03, according to AHL guru Patrick Williams, who covers the league for


It’s worth noting that defenseman John Klingberg’s full no-trade clause expired on Sunday. The terms now change to a 10-team, no-trade clause, according to Cap Friendly. The Ducks signed the unrestricted free agent to a $7-million contract on July 29.

The transition has been especially rough. Klingberg has 11 points (four goals, seven points) in 30 games and is minus-22. Heading into Sunday’s action, the only defenseman in the NHL with a worse plus-minus this season is Chicago’s Seth Jones (minus 25).

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