News and notes from around the crease…
Gibson to debut
John Gibson, the Anaheim farmhand considered to be one of the NHL’s best young goaltending talents, will make his big-league debut tonight when the Ducks take on the Canucks in Vancouver.
Gibson, 20, will get the start after Jonas Hiller performed poorly in Sunday’s 4-2 loss to Edmonton (No. 2 Frederik Andersen is out with an upper-body injury). It promises to be an exciting time for both Gibson and the Ducks, as the club has high hopes for his future — the Pittsburgh native captured tournament MVP at the ’13 World Juniors, then performed equally well for the U.S. men’s team at the ’13 Worlds, backstopping the Americans to bronze while posting a 1.56 GAA and .951 save percentage.
Last May, Gibson’s goalie coach with OHL Kitchener said the then-19-year-old was “ready for the NHL right now.”
For the Canucks, Eddie Lack will start for the 19th straight time.
Flames at Devils: Karri Ramo vs. Cory Schneider
Wild at Jets: Ilya Bryzgalov vs. Michael Hutchinson (read more about Hutchinson and the Jets’ goaltending situation.)
Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”
Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.
The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.
“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”
Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.
The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.
If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.