Pittsburgh’s John Gibson is the top-ranked North American goaltending prospect for the 2011 NHL Draft, according to the NHL Central Scouting Bureau’s final rankings that were released Monday.
Gibson, who grew up in Whitehall and played amateur hockey for the Pittsburgh Hornets, is currently tending goal for the U.S. National Team Development Program based in Ann Arbor, Mich.
In 32 games with the Under-18 team this season, Gibson went 17-10-3 for a 2.64 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. Gibson will continue his playing career in Ann Arbor, as he has committed to the University of Michigan for the fall of 2011.
Gibson, who won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2010 World U-17 Challenge after stopping 38 of 39 shots in the championship game, is set to compete for Team USA at the 2011 Under-18 World Championships in Germany.
He is part of a group of five Pittsburgh-area prospects ranked among the best players for the 2011 draft – all of them having played developmental hockey in the Pittsburgh Hornets system: Brandon Saad, J.T. Miller, Vincent Trocheck and Michael Houser being the others.
Saad, a forward from Gibsonia who plays for Saginaw of the Ontario Hockey League, is ranked No. 19 among North American skaters. The 6-foot-1, 208-pound left winger has piled up 55 points (27G-28A) in 59 games with the Spirit.
Miller, a forward from East Palestine, Ohio and Moon, joins Gibson on the U.S. NTDP and is ranked No. 23 among North American skaters. Miller, a 6-foot-1, 198-pound center, has 11 goals and 37 points through 48 games with the U18 team. He has committed to the University of North Dakota for the fall of 2011.
Trocheck, a forward from Pittsburgh who plays alongside Saad at Saginaw, is No. 42. The 5-foot-10, 184-pound center has tallied 62 points (26G-36A) in 68 games with the Spirit.
Houser, a goaltender from Wexford, is ranked No. 19 among North American netminders. He has gone 30-19-4 in 54 games with the London Knights, earning a .904 save percentage and 3.32 goals-against average on the season.
Miller and Upper St. Clair native Barrett Kaib, also a member of the U.S. NTDP and who skated in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League, are set to join Gibson on the Team USA roster at the 2011 Under-18 World Championships in Germany. Kaib has committed to Providence College for the fall of 2011.