New York Islanders

The New York Islanders have a goaltending problem that they finally have the answer to: Christopher Gibson.

By Justin Weiss

The New York Islanders have a goaltending problem. Jaroslav Halak is on the injured reserve with an upper-body injury.

The difference between this netminding problem and those that have proceeded it is fairly simple, though: for the first time, Jack Capuano’s squad has a good goaltending conundrum.

The days of Joey MacDonald, Yann Danis, Al Montoya and Anders Nilsson backing up guys like Rick DiPietro  and Evgeni Nabokov are over. Instead, Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss are providing New York with an impressive goaltending tandem, while Christopher Gibson, Ilya Sorokin, Stephon Williams, Linus Soderstrom and Eamon McAdam are all available to help the team if need-be.

Gibson, 23, has finally got his chance, and boy has he earned it.

The Karkkila, Finland native has posted a 11-5-3 record, 1.99 GAA (good for second in the league) and .928 SV% with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League this season.

To say that previous statistics would be an indicator of Gibson’s breakout season is blasphemy, as the netminder has never previously come close to displaying the stats he has posted through 22 games this season.

However, there are many reasons why he is excelling with the team’s minor league affiliate. Firstly, Gibson is extremely athletic, and that is quite evident when he goes up against skilled players, such as those he faces on a daily basis in the AHL. Awesome reflexes also help Gibson redeem himself for a lack of occasional positioning. Furthermore, Gibson’s frame is quite projectable, and that’s where scouts have seemingly seen the biggest improvement in his game.

As far as Halak’s injury goes, yeah, it hurts. But this isn’t like every other year where the Isles have to experiment with a bunch of no-names in net. Garth Snow has done a respectable job drafting and developing his goaltenders, and that should pay dividends for the New York Islanders.

Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.