Brian Gibbons must have left quite an impression on the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The speedy forward scored a pair of first-period goals for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against Columbus. When Gibbons became a free agent on July 1, the Blue Jackets wasted little time in signing him.
Gibbons, 26, made his NHL debut with the Penguins last season, finishing with five goals, 17 points and a plus-5 rating in 41 games, during which he averaged 11:56 of ice time. He had two goals and an assist in eight Stanley Cup Playoff games.
With openings on the third and fourth lines, the Blue Jackets offered Gibbons a chance for a full-time roster spot after the Penguins opted not to re-sign him. He jumped at it.
"I think I can bring some things to the table that they were looking for, and I was really excited to sign with Columbus," Gibbons told the Blue Jackets website. "They seemed interested right away and I definitely wanted to be part of this organization, so it was a good fit both ways and one that I'm really excited for.
"Before I signed, we talked about them having a couple open spots in their lineup. There are a bunch of guys in the mix for those spots who are looking to go into training camp and compete for one, and I'm one of them. I'm going to compete my hardest and do whatever I can to win one of those spots."
The former Boston College star isn't big; he's 5-foot-8, 170 pounds. But his speed, skill, feistiness and willingness to play both ends of the ice were attractive to the Blue Jackets, who are trying to build on their second postseason berth.
Gibbons, in turn, said he liked what he saw of the Blue Jackets during the series against the Penguins.
"What I learned about the Blue Jackets is the character; it was really apparent," he said. "You look at the playoffs and the comebacks they had ... Pittsburgh had them on the ropes a couple of times and they kept pushing back. They were such a determined team, they never quit, and that told me they have a really strong leadership group in that room.
"Columbus is a team that plays really hard and it gets under the skin of opponents. It creates exciting games, more bad blood, and with the playoff series it made for an intense rivalry. The games with Pittsburgh were close, the overtimes were great, and the rivalry is only going to get better, I think."