John Gibson, a goaltender from the U.S. National Development Program, was the first of six picks by the Ducks on Day 2 of the NHL Entry Draft.
Initially projected to be the first goalie selected in the draft, Gibson went to the Ducks with the 39th overall pick – one slot after 6-foot-5 Swedish goalie Magnus Hellberg, who went to Nashville. The 18-year-old told reporters in St. Paul that “my goal at the beginning of the season was to be the first goalie taken but that’s the way it worked out.”
Gibson, a 6-foot-3 native of Pittsburgh, backstopped Team USA to a gold medal at the 2011 Under-18 World Championships in Germany. He posted a 2.34 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage along the way to earn Best Goaltender of the tournament honors.
The Ducks’ AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, struggled with a goalie tandem of Jean-Phillippe Levasseur and Timo Pielmeier last season. Igor Bobkov, a 2009 draft pick, could turn pro next season (he’ll be 20) and Finnish free agent Iiro Tarkki was also signed to help shore up the position, but Gibson probably won’t join the pro ranks for another two seasons at least.
“I’ve just got to see how the next couple years play out,” Gibson said. “When you’re
ready, you’ll be there. I’ve got to see what they need, the best
development for yourself, so I’ll take it one step at a time.
“It’s definitely a great organization. I’m really happy to be there. I’m really thankful they drafted me. I’m thankful they have a lot of good young talent coming up so hopefully in the near future I can be there and help the team out.”
The Ducks finished their draft day by selecting center William Karlsson (second round, 53rd overall), center Joseph Cramarossa (third round, 65th overall), defenseman Andy Welinski (third round, 83rd overall), left wing Max Friberg (fifth round, 143rd overall), and defenseman Josh Manson (sixth round, 160th overall).