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Get To Know U.S. National Development Team's John Gibson

by David de Besche / Colorado Avalanche
It is not too often that players with the same last name go one-two in a typical draft year.  John Gibson, listed as the top-ranked North American goaltender sits atop Central Scouting’s final rankings while Christopher Gibson (no relation) ranks second.

John Gibson, who turns 18 in July, is coming off a huge performance at the 2011 Under-18 World Champions in Germany. The Pittsburgh, PA., native anchored Team USA to back-to-back overtime victories against Canada in the semifinal and Sweden in the final to secure the gold medal. Gibson was named the tournament’s Best Goaltender with an impressive 2.34 goals-against average and .926 save percentage.

Stellar tournaments are not rarities for the young goalie as he carried his team to a gold medal performance in the 2010 World Under-17 Challenge. While being named player of the game in two of his three matches, Gibson shined in the finale stopping 38-of-39 shots en route to winning the gold medal.  He finished the tournament with a stellar 1.33 goals-against-average and .957 save percentage.
Gibson makes a save on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at the 2010 NHL Research Development and Orientation Camp. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Having played in his share of pressure-packed games, Gibson, like many other great goalies, thrives in situations where he is counted on making key saves.

“Over the past few years, I've grown a lot in pressure situations and I feel like it's an extra notch in my cap that I've been able to prove to everyone else. I like those situations. I like coming up big when the team needs you to do so,” Gibson said in a recent interview with

In 40 contests in the 2010-11 season, the University of Michigan-bound goalie earned an impressive 24-11-3 record with a 2.55 goals-against average and .921 save percentage.

John is praised for his good size (6’3”, 205 lbs) and athletic ability, but also for his disposition in goal. These attributes are exactly what the scouts are saying make him the premier prospect in net for this year’s draft.

“He has size and presence in the net, and moves with power. 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,” U.S. Under-18 goalie coach Joe Exter said.

Even at an early age, goaltender was Gibson’s natural position. Memories of using a broom in the kitchen to block his father’s shots and repeatedly lending a hand even when he wasn’t in net were themes of his adolescence. 

Gibson has committed to the University of Michigan for the fall of 2011. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)
"I started out as a defenseman, but ended up in the net helping the goalie out all the time," Gibson said in a recent article. "Instead of playing defense, my parents just decided to put me out as a goalie."

Gibson is one of four Pittsburgh Hornet alums to be ranked by Central Scouting in this year’s draft. Former teammates Brandon Saad (No. 19 ranked forward), Jonathan Miller (No. 23 ranked forward) as well as goaltender Michael Houser (No. 19 ranked goaltender) are  anxiously awaiting the two-day draft.

Gibson will look to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Jack Campbell who grew in the United States National Team Developmental Program (NTDP). Campbell was the first American-born player drafted last June with the 11th pick by the Dallas Stars. Just as Gibson is now, Campbell was the top-ranked goalie heading into last year’s draft.

"John has great net coverage and size and is very strong," NHL Central Scouting's Al Jensen told "He's sound technically, moves very well laterally, and is controlled. He's calm, not busy."

Below are highlights of his 2010-11 season:

- Finished the USHL regular season with a 9-4-3 record in 17 games.

- Helped Team USA win gold at the 2011 Under-18 World Championships in Germany, with back-to-back overtime wins against Canada (semifinal) and Sweden (final).  Was named Best Goaltender of the tournament for his 2.34 GAA and .926 SV%.

Did you know?

- Gibson has committed to the University of Michigan for the fall of 2011.

- Won gold at the 2010 World Under-17 Challenge, stopping 38-of-39 shots with the only Ontario goal coming with a second left.  Named player of the game in two of his three starts and finished the tournament with a 1.33 GAA and .957 SV%.

Up Next: Jonathan Huberdeau

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