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New York Islanders Top 25 Under 25: Bridgeport starter Christopher Gibson at #17

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Bridgeport's #1 got his NHL debut in 2015-16, but we still have questions.

Whatever happens, he's got a great story.
Whatever happens, he's got a great story.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

And now our Spring 2016 Islanders Top 25 Under 25 countdown comes to its third and final remaining component of the Michael Grabner trade (here's Matt Finn at 22 and Carter Verhaeghe at 19). Christopher Gibson is also the third goalie to appear on our countdown, with three others yet to come.

Though our votes ranged from 14th to 25th, it was just about unanimous that:

  • Gibson could end up as the best asset from the Grabner trade
  • that's not exactly saying much
  • even if he becomes an NHL goalie it's probably as a backup/journeyman

We'll see, of course. Goalies are goalies, etc. He's 23, which is getting older for prospects, but slightly younger for goalies given the uniquely limited contexts and opportunities in which they play.

Gibson started the majority of games in Bridgeport, got his NHL debut with the Islanders, and is likely to be the starter for Bridgeport again next season. So we'll know more this time next year. For now, here's what we were thinking...

How We Voted, Complete with Angst

King (CIL) Keith Mike B. McNally Garik Dominik Leboff Les
19 17 14
19 19
16 25 22

McNally:

Of all the goalie prospects, he's not the most talented, but he's not the worst either. He was a good story at the end of last year but barring injury, we probably will never see Gibson in any kind of major role for the Islanders.

Mike B.:

Probably the best of the players the Isles got back in the Grabbed trade. I like him a little better than Berube, but there's that voodoo factor. I could be wrong about both of them. I'm a goalie and I still don't understand goaltending.

David King (CanadianIslesLifer):

Gibson could very well end up being the best of the five assets the Islanders acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs for Michael Grabner. A Finnish goalie who played his juniors in the Q of the CHL, Gibson was a second round pick of the L.A. Kings (49th overall) in the 2011 draft. Over the course of four seasons in the Q, his junior numbers produced mixed results. Aside from his rookie year in the Q, Gibson only had one other year where he had a SV% below .900, and that was his best year by far in terms of wins/losses/ties.

In 2011-12, Gibson only had a .893 SV% in 48 games, but he was 27-17-4. In 2010-11, Gibson posted a .920 SV% in 37 games, but was only 14-15-8. In 2012-13, Gibson posted a .902 SV% in 41 games, but was only 17-18-4.

Gibson's AHL numbers for the last three seasons, playing for two different organizations: Marlies 2013-14: .916 SV% in 12 games; Marlies 2014-15: .921 SV% in 45 games; Bridgeport 2015-16: .909 in 42 games.

Should he pan out, his junior and NHL numbers would project him to be an average to slightly below average NHLer. In other words, his ceiling would be NHL backup/average goal tender.

Les (HockeyGoalieEh):

Gibson's numbers are mediocre at best and at 23 he's nearing the ceiling for a goalie. There's a heavy chance that he doesn't materialize into anything worth while, but he plays at one of the more difficult positions to evaluate in all of sports so there's still a chance. It's very slim however.

Keith:

Third goalie in a row because I can't tell the difference anymore. He's a Finn though and that's new.

Previously on the Spring '16 25U25