Sunday, December 19, 2010

Having a Seat Over There: John Gibson and Brennan Serville

(More from MGoBlog and MHNet)

We have our stud goalie commit!

Michigan picked up a pair of commitments this week: US NTDP goalie John Gibson and Stouffville defenseman Brennan Serville.

Not to dimish Serville's commitment in any way, because he sounds like a pretty darn good player as well, but Gibson is the guy that should have Wolverines fans jumping for joy. A former OSU-verbal, Gibson is one of the top goalies in his age group and that blue-chippah that we've been waiting for since Jack Campbell decided to head for the OHL.

Kyle Woodlief from Red Line had Gibson as the #31 prospect in the upcoming draft, and said that he is one of the biggest risers on his draft board.
“His improvement has been dramatic over the course of the past 18 months,” said Woodlief of Gibson, who stands 6-foot-3, 185 pounds. “He was always a taller kid who didn’t have great lateral agility or quickness because he had grown length wise, but his body hadn’t really grown into that. As he has grown into his frame and gotten stronger in the lower half of the body, he is much quicker and more nimble on his feet.”
HT to MGoBlog for this one: One of the writers for had Gibson as one of three goalies who could potentially be a first-round pick. 

Some scouts thought that Gibson (6-foot-2, 205 pounds) was in and out at the NHL Research and Development camp this summer, but he has looked very solid in showings subsequently. He gets high marks for his agility in the crease and he goes post to post very well. With Campbell last year and John Gibson this winter, it just might be that the USDT is becoming what Quebec was for many years -- the leading hothouse for goaltending prospects.

Central Scouting had him as the top goalie in the USHL in their preliminary rankings.

The Hockey News liked how he looked at the NHL R&D camp:

Another American who looked good at the R&D camp, Gibson has a great new-school NHL frame at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds. He moves fairly quickly for a goalie his size and considering he was handicapped by rule changes and in facing the best offensive players his age group, fared well. Draft eligible in 2011.

So far this season, Gibson is 6-6-2 with a 2.89/.917, which is very, very good. He made 44 stops in the NTDP's 3-0 loss to the Wolverines earlier this year. He was 3-0-0 in the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge with a 1.33/.957, including a win in the championship game.

Brian made a good point that it's probably unlikely that he's headed for the OHL after flipping his commit midway through the season. It's also exceedingly rare for goalies to head for the pros at such a young age, so the chances are probably pretty good that he'll be in maize and blue for at least a couple of seasons.

He won't have to be "the man" right away, with Hunwick proving that he's a more-than-capable goalie at the NCAA level, but I'm sure Gibson will see icetime-aplenty next year. This is a huge pickup for the program, and taking him from Ohio State makes it that much better. The much-needed goalie spot has been filled.

Also committing to the Wolverines was former Canisius commitment Brennan Serville. From MHNet:
Serville plays for Stouffville of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, the same league that the likes of Louie Caporusso and Brandon Burlon came from.  The 6’3, 180 pound defenseman has eight assists in 17 games this season.  He had 3-12-15 in 43 games last season.  A former Canisius commit, USHR says Serville is “a great skating defenseman with size who is good on the breakout, has good hands and sees the ice well.”
Good size, good speed. He now has 2-10--12 in 20 games. He's currently riding a four game point streak where he has 2 goals and 5 assists. He was selected to play for Canada East in the World Junior A Challenge despite missing the evaluation camp and only playing 9 games to the point of the team being selected. Canada East won a silver medal and Serville played in all five games, but didn't register a point. He's projected as a 3rd-5th round pick in the Draft.

We're scheduled to have six defensemen coming back next year (in addition to Serville and Michael Szuma coming in), so provided that no one leaves and Jon Merrill doesn't run for President or something, we'll be in really good shape on the blueline.

Here's an article on Serville from back when he committed to Canisius. And Stouffville sure likes him.

There was a very interesting article in the Windsor Star that seems really premature, but is surely fun to think about for those of us that root for the Wings and Wolverines: Bob Duff says that he has heard rumblings that the Rangers will not sign Carl Hagelin after the seasons and that he could be headed for Motown:
Currently the property of the New York Rangers, who selected the 5-11, 176-pound left-winger from Sodertalje, Sweden with the 168th pick of the 2007 National Hockey League entry draft, word around the NHL is that the Rangers won't be signing Hagelin, who would then become a free agent Aug. 15, 2011. “I wouldn't be surprised to see Detroit sign him,” said one NHL scout at Saturday's game.
That would be awesome. Ranger blogs aren't buying it, however. The Prospect Park says:
If Carl Hagelin does not sign with the New York Rangers, it would be because Hagelin did not want to sign not because the Rangers did not want to sign him. We know that last summer that the Rangers made a serious attempt to sign Hagelin and get him to leave school early.

Hagelin (who had been named captain of Michigan's hockey team) turned them down, whether it was because he wanted his degree or he wanted to win the Hobey Baker this year we can not confirm. But what we do know is that the Rangers tried to sign him and that they will try again as soon as Michigan's season ends.
The Rangers do want Carl Hagelin end of story, if he does not sign it will be because of Hagelin not because of the Rangers.

Canyon of Blueshirts points out that just a few weeks ago, Glen Sather mentioned Hagelin as a prospect who has an opportunity to be a good player.

This report doesn't seem to pass the smell test. There's a direct, positive quote from Sather about Hagelin from just a few weeks ago, and it seems pretty early to have made up your mind that you're not going to make an effort to sign one of the better prospects in your organization. That being said, it sure is nice to think about. It'd be nice to finally have a Wolverine back in a Wings jersey. And I wouldn't have to stop yelling "Bork, bork, bork!" at every opportunity. Dinky doooooooo!

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