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2011 NHL Draft

Goalie Prospect Gibson Combines Size, Athleticism

Monday, 05.30.2011 / 1:33 PM ET / 2011 NHL Draft
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Goalie Prospect Gibson Combines Size, Athleticism
USNTDP prospect John Gibson fell in love with goaltending at a young age, and as he\'s grown his blend of size and athleticism has made him a top prospect for the 2011 Entry Draft.
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Author: Mike G. Morreale | NHL.com Staff Writer

It's probably a good thing Jack and Sue Gibson recognized the shot blocker in their son at a young age.
 
Then again, the signs were unavoidable.
 
"I started out as a defenseman, but ended up in the net helping the goalie out all the time," John Gibson said. "Instead of playing defense, my parents just decided to put me out as a goalie."
 
He's relished the role ever since.
 
"I probably started skating when I was 3 or 4 and was playing defense for a team when I was 5," he said. "When I turned 6, I converted to goalie. I guess at the time I just liked to stop pucks but I also liked to be in those pressure situations. I like to have the team rely on you to make the big save and keep them in the game. I do like that kind of pressure, I want to win games."
 
Gibson has described himself as big and calm -- two traits any professional scout or general manager relishes in a shot blocker. It's also the reason he'll get plenty of looks between now and the 2011 NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.
 
"Just because you're a big goalie doesn't mean you are an athletic goalie, but I think I'm pretty athletic too so, with that package, it's a real benefit to my game," the 6-foot-2 3/4, 205-pound Gibson told NHL.com. 
 
Long gone are the days when Gibson used to stop shots with a broomstick against his dad back home in Pittsburgh. Now he's doing it for real with the Under-18 U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. In fact, Gibson is looking to follow in the footsteps of one of the NTDP's most esteemed graduates, Jack Campbell, who was the first American-born player drafted last June when the Dallas Stars called his name with the 11th pick.
 
Gibson actually has one up on Campbell at this point in his career because, unlike the latter, Gibson just so happens to be the No. 1-rated player at his position on the NHL Central Scouting's midterm release of North American goalies. Campbell was rated No. 2 on the final release last year. Joe Exter, goalie coach for the NTDP, has had a first-hand look at what all the fuss is about.
 
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FINAL RANKINGS:
NORTH AMERICAN: Skaters | Goalies
INTERNATIONAL: Skaters | Goalies

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DRAFT CENTRAL:
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"He has size and presence in the net, and moves with power," Exter said. "The best part is he's not just a limited goaltender for being a big guy. He's multi-dimensional. He has power, athleticism, and he's got good flexibility. And those parts of his game allow him to have success at the high level. He also has a calm demeanor in the net."
 
Gibson received the directorate award as the best goalie in the International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 World Championship in Crimmitschau, Germany, last month. The University of Michigan-bound goalie finished the tournament a perfect 6-0-0 with a 2.34 goals-against average and .926 save percentage.
 
"John has great net coverage and size and is very strong," NHL Central Scouting's Al Jensen told NHL.com. "He's sound technically, moves very well laterally, and is controlled. He's calm, not busy."
 
In 32 games with the Under-18 team this season, Gibson was 17-10-3 with a 2.64 GAA, .918 save percentage and one shutout. He finished the USHL regular season with a 9-4-3 record in 17 games.

"When I came to the (NTDP), I was a pretty calm guy and then, in my first year here, I was kind of new to the experience and didn't have that experience playing at a high level," Gibson said. "Then I saw Jack (Campbell). He's been around so I looked at him for leadership and saw how calm and composed he was. I just kind of added that to my game and I think it's really benefitted me."
 
Exter believes there is some validity to the Gibson-Campbell comparisons.
 
"I believe it's a fair comparison -- John's strength and poise to stay in the moment helps him play to a high level," Exter said. "It also gives the team confidence because when you look back and see a guy who's in there battling and making saves, then, if something goes wrong, you know he's going to bounce back and make up for the score on the next one."
 
Gibson notched his first shutout of the season on Jan. 14, making 31 saves in a 3-0 triumph over the Green Bay Gamblers in a United States Hockey League matchup. He stopped 10 shots in the first and 13 more in the second against Green Bay.
 
Gibson, who will turn 18 on July 14, is grateful to have earned the No. 1-rating in the eyes of the scouts, but is determined to get even better.
 
"I was kind of surprised, actually," Gibson said. "But it's a great honor, obviously. I found out the day after the rankings were released and felt pretty good about myself. It's great to be up there, but mainly my focus is on the rest of the season."
 
"Overall, I just think John has such a good feel for the net," Jensen told NHL.com. "He's very good positionally and plays big. He possesses good quickness and good strength and he's got all the attributes that a pro goalie needs to be a top-end goalie."
 
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 79 15 39 10 54
J. Jokinen 81 8 36 -2 44
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
A. Ekblad 81 12 27 12 39
B. Boyes 78 14 24 11 38
A. Barkov 71 16 20 -4 36
J. Hayes 72 19 16 -4 35
B. Campbell 82 3 24 4 27
B. Pirri 49 22 2 6 24
D. Bolland 53 6 17 4 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 28 19 12 .921 2.35
A. Montoya 6 7 2 .892 3.01
 
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