Player Evaluation: John Gibson – June 30, 2011

Goalie John Gibson was drafted in the second round of the NHL Entry Draft by the Anaheim Ducks

John Gibson, G

The conditioning camp scrimmage gave Ducks management and fans a first look at newly-acquired goalies John Gibson and Iiro Tarkki.  Gibson was drafted in the second round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, and Tarkki was signed from Finland towards the end of last season.

Let’s take a closer look at John Gibson, including some video of him in action at the end…

John Gibson spent last season with the USA Under-18 Team in the US National Team Development Program.  Gibson, a Pittsburgh native, is a mere 17 years old (he turns 18 on July 14, 2011).  After completing the season with a 17-10 record with a 2.64 GAA and 1 shutout, Gibson was ranked the #1 goaltender in North America for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.  He comes into Anaheim with high expectations as the Ducks selected him 39th overall as just the second goalie taken in the draft.

Gibson is a larger goalie, standing at 6’3″.  This allows him to see over traffic better and take up more of the net.  However, Gibson has a wider, more crouched stance that makes him appear smaller than some of the other big goalies in the NHL.

Gibson is a very technical goaltender, which I’m sure was hammered into him while playing at the USNTDP.  He has very crisp, clean movements, using T-pushes and butterfly slides to move around his crease.  His hands are held way out in front to actively track the puck, and his size allows him to play a little bit deeper in his crease and stay big while on his knees.

Goalie John Gibson playing at the Anaheim Ducks conditioning camp scrimmage

Gibson holds his hands way out in front and has a wide, crouched stance.

While Gibson’s technical expertise was very apparent, it also seemed to fault him at times.  The young US goaltender appeared stiff at the start of the scrimmage and allowed a few weak goals to squeak through him.

It is also necessary to keep in mind that this was the first time that the rookies were on the ice.  For some, it was the first time skating since their seasons ended so rust was apparent.  Gibson did indeed improve as the skate went on, holding on as his Black Team came from behind to win the scrimmage 8-6.

Gibson’s technical proficiency provides a strong foundation that will serve him well as he continues to develop.  Ice time is essential for him to learn to adapt to different situations in different ways so that he’s not always locked into his stiff technique.  While he won’t get as many games at the University of Michigan, he will be playing behind a strong team that will hopefully boost his stats and his confidence.

All-in-all, drafting John Gibson did wonders to improve the Ducks’ depth in goal.  At just 17 years of age, he has plenty of time to prove himself worthy of the #1 ranking that he earned among all North American goalies in his draft class.

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