Christopher Gibson speaks English, Finnish and French, but has a Latin phrase etched into the back of his goalie mask: “Luctor et Emergo.” Literally, this means “I struggle and emerge.”
The Kings’ first selection in the 2011 Entry Draft, Gibson certainly struggled in his first game in a Kings uniform. Gibson allowed five goals in the third period as the Kings blew a 6-3 lead, losing 8-7 to the Phoenix Coyotes at Toyota Sports Center. The two teams will play again at 2 p.m. today at TSC, completing the two-game exhibition series between the teams.
Gibson wasn’t the only prospect who slipped on a Kings uniform for the first time Wednesday. That was a factor in 60 minutes of up-and-down hockey.
“There were a lot of nervous guys in that dressing room,” said forward Brandon Kozun, who scored two goals and added an assist on the eve of his third training camp with the Kings.
Twenty-year-old defenseman Nicolas Deslauriers, a third-round draft pick in 2009, signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Kings on Tuesday.
The native of Ville Lasalle, Quebec, led all QMJHL defensemen in 2011 playoff scoring with 20 points (5-15=20) in 24 games. Deslauriers helped Gatineau advance to the President’s Cup final, the QMJHL’s championship series, before the Olympiques lost to the Saint John Sea Dogs in six games.
In 48 regular-season games during the 2010-11 season, Deslauriers racked up 43 points (13 goals, 30 assists) and 53 penalty minutes. He led all defensemen on his team in goals (13), assists (30), points (43), power-play goals (6), and plus/minus rating (plus-22).
Deslauriers can also fight, with evidence here and here.
Deslauriers was the third player chosen by the Kings in a draft class that also includes Brayden Schenn (fifth overall) and Kyle Clifford (35th overall). Fellow 2009 draftees Linden Vey, Jean-Francois Berube and Jordan Nolan, David Kolomatis and Brandon Kozun have all signed their entry-level NHL deals too.
Seventh-round pick Nic Dowd just finished his freshman season at St. Cloud State and is unlikely to be tendered a contract before his eligibility expires. Michael Pelech, a sixth-round pick, signed an AHL contract in 2010 and spent last season with the ECHL’s Ontario Reign.