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Prospect Update: Lukas Dostal
By Thomas Harrington
Anaheim’s third round pick from 2018, goaltender Lukas Dostal, was San Diego’s starter this past season. He also made his NHL debut, getting four games with the Ducks.
Overall, Dostal played in 40 games for the Gulls and had a record of 18-14-6 with a 2.60 goals against average, a .916 save percentage, and two shutouts. He had a bit of a slow start to the season, but his play improved as the season went along. He was named the AHL Player of the Week in late February when he went 2-0 with a 1.01 goals against average, a .964 save percentage, and a shutout, becoming the youngest player in Gulls history to record a shutout. However, what might be the highlight of Dostal’s career came in March, when he stopped 50 shots and scored an empty net goal.
He became the first goaltender in the Anaheim organization to score a goal, and the 17th goaltender to do it in AHL history. With the Ducks, Dostal had a 1-2 record with a 2.98 goals against average and a .907 save percentage. His lone win came in his first career start, where he stopped 33 of 36 shots, and then stopped both of Detroit’s shooters in the shootout.
Dostal started both of San Diego’s playoff games, losing both, but he was much better in the second one. He let in six goals on 28 shots in the first game, but responded with 29 saves on 32 shots in the second game, helping the Gulls get to overtime. He had a 4.90 goals against average and a .850 save percentage in the postseason. Dostal also played for Czechia at the World Championships. He only played in one game in the tournament, which he won, and he allowed only one goal.
Dostal met both of my expectations from a year ago. First, I wanted him to be San Diego’s starter. Despite numerous callups to Anaheim throughout the season, he still played in 40 of San Diego’s 68 games. I also wanted him to better his numbers from his rookie year. While his save percentage stayed the same at .916, his goals against average dropped from 2.87 to 2.60. I did not expect him to make his NHL debut, I was just hoping for that, so getting four games with the Ducks means he did even more than I expected of him.
This coming season it looks like both John Gibson and Anthony Stolarz will once again be in net for Anaheim, meaning Dostal should be San Diego’s starter again. However, Stolarz is currently in the final year of his contract. If the Ducks are out of the playoff picture, he could be a target for another team looking to shore up its goaltending depth heading into the postseason. If that happens, then the door will open for Dostal to finish the season as Gibson’s backup.
I have a few expectations for Dostal this season. First, to have a better start to the year than he did a year ago. In his first six games of the season he let in nearly 20 goals and only had a save percentage above .910 once. Second, for his overall numbers to improve, especially his postseason numbers if the Gulls make the playoffs. Finally, to get more than four games of NHL action. That last one will be tough to meet if Stolarz is not traded, but I think even if Stolarz sticks around, the Ducks will want to give Dostal more time in Anaheim to make sure he can handle the NHL caliber competition. As long as he plays well, I think he’ll be Anaheim’s backup for the 2023-2024 season.
Dostal has one year remaining on his entry-level deal and he’ll be a restricted free agent next summer. He’s had two strong seasons in the AHL, and even if he spends most of next season with the Gulls, I anticipate him being re-signed a year from now. Even if he becomes an NHL backup this coming season, I still don’t think he’ll get a long-term deal. However, if he is in the NHL for most of the season, he’ll have earned a one-way contract. If he is still primarily with the Gulls, I could see him getting a two-year deal where the first year is on a two-way contract and then the second year it becomes a one-way contract, similar to the deal that Josh Mahura signed last summer. Especially if the plan is for him to be Gibson’s backup by then.
The next prospect update will be on William Francis.
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September 3rd, 2022