This is exactly the case for the Anaheim Ducks as they get set to take on the Dallas Stars in the first game of the Stanley Cup playoffs tonight in Anaheim. As of this writing, the Ducks have the likes of Jonas Hiller, Frederik Anderson, and John Gibson.
Since joining the Ducks in the 2007-08 season, Hiller, 32, has been one of his team's best players. Year in and year out, he puts up good numbers, makes a lot of big saves, and gets his team into the postseason.
Hiller has also been someone who gets a bulk of the playing time and for the last few seasons, has been the main man between the pipes for the Ducks. With his resume, talent, and build, it is easy to see why the Ducks relied on him so heavily the last few seasons.
With all of that said, however, there is a good chance that Hiller may end up being the odd man out when it comes to the Ducks' crease. Hiller may have put up solid numbers this season (29-13-7 with a 2.48 goals against average, a .911 save percentage, and five shutouts), but he is not the masked man that is getting all the attention in Anaheim.
Rather, the goaltending spotlight in Anaheim belongs to two young netminders in Frederik Andersen and John Gibson. Both netminders impressed the organization with their fine play this season and even forced team head coach Bruce Boudreau to really think about who is starting goaltender was going to be in the postseason.
While Boudreau has yet to announce a starter for tonight's Game 1, it appears that Andersen, 24, might get the call for the Ducks. This is well deserved for Andersen as he played extremely well for the Ducks this season.
In 28 games, Andersen went 20-5 with a 2.29 goals against average and a .923 save percentage. He played in a lot of big games for his hockey club this season and showed the team that he could be relied on to not only make the big saves game in and game out, but to also win games on a consistent basis.
Andersen certainly has the support of his defenseman, Francois Beauchemin, who spoke glowingly about the young goaltender to Curtis Zupke of NHL.com.
Not only is Andersen a solid young masked man, Gibson has the potential to be even better. Gibson, 20, won all three games he played in and finished 3-0 with a 1.33 goals against average, a .954 save percentage, and one shutout.
"Just his presence in the net; being so big and athletic," defenseman Francois Beauchemin said. "He makes the big saves with control, not being [out of position]. He plays the puck really well. For a defenseman, when we go back to get the puck, he'll make you a pass or clear the zone. Communication will be huge with him to make sure we let him know what we want to do with the puck."
Gibson has already played a lot of games on the big stage and has also done well in the American Hockey League with the Norfolk Admirals. He appears to be more than NHL ready and simply needs more playing time to prove it.
Hiller may be the veteran with more NHL experience in the regular season and postseason, but based on the play of Andersen and Gibson, Hiller's time with the Ducks could be coming to an end.