From the “throw him into the deep end, see if he can swim” file: Chris Gibson, he of the 29 minutes of NHL experience, will make his first big-league start tonight when the Isles take on the Caps at Verizon.
That’s the NHL-leading Capitals, who’ve scored the second-most goals (237) in the league.
And that’s at the Verizon Center, where the Caps are 29-7-2 this year.
And yes, Gibson’s start comes with the Isles in the second of a back-to-back, having played the Bolts last night.
As for Gibson, here’s the skinny — he’s 23, from Finland, and was taken in the second round of the 2011 draft (by Los Angeles). He never signed with L.A., though, and caught on with the Leafs organization in ’13. After spending time in both ECHL Orlando and with the AHL Marlies, he was part of the package Toronto sent to the Isles in exchange for Michael Grabner last September.
Ordinarily, he’d be New York’s No. 4 netminder on the depth chart, behind Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Greiss and Jean-Francois Berube. But with Halak and Berube hurt, head coach Jack Capuano doesn’t have a ton of choices at the moment — Greiss played last night, so Gibson gets to play Washington.
In 42 games with AHL Bridgeport this year, Gibson’s posted a 2.70 GAA and .909 save percentage. He did look sharp in his first-ever NHL action, though — in the Isles’ 5-2 loss to Pittsburgh back in January, he stopped 16 of 17 shots after coming on in relief of Greiss.