Gibson Developing into a Fine Defensemen

By Brad Coccimiglio

Name: Jake Gibson
Team: Soo Greyhounds
Birthdate: July 25, 1980
Hometown: New Liskeard, Ontario
Position: Defense
Number: 8
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 208 lbs
Shoots: Left

Jake Gibson came to the Soo Greyhounds as a 6th round (94th overall) draft pick in the 1997
OHL draft. Since then Gib, as he is known by many of the Greyhounds faithful, has developed into
a very strong defensive defenseman.

Gibson, 19, should be a strong candidate for an overage spot on next years Greyhounds
roster. Gibson will likely be brought back for experience on the blueline. He is the only
Greyhound defenseman eligible for an overage spot, although Dan Passero is the only Greyhounds
defenseman who is not eligible to come back (centre Chad Spurr and goaltender Jason Flick are
also not eligible to come back next season).

Gibson has never been known as a strong offensive defenseman. He does chip in offensively by
pinching in at the right times and he rarely ever gets caught doing so. He also provides the
Greyhounds blueline with a physical presence.

Gibson has spent most of the season as rookie Trevor Daley’s defense partner. Gibson has
been sort of an insurance policy or a policeman as he protects Daley quite often. Also his
defensive style allows Daley to jump into the play a little bit more often.

Not the fastest of skaters, but a pretty good skater nonetheless, Gibson makes up for his
lack of speed by making the little plays right. This year Gibson has improved his puck handling
skills to go along with his great shot which could help him work towards a professional
contract. Little by little his offensive talent is starting to come together although he will
never be a legitimate scoring threat from the blueline.

At 6’4” and 208 pounds, the New Liskeard, Ontario native, is the Greyhounds largest
defenseman. He is completing his third OHL season this year and he has improved his game greatly
since he first joined the Greyhounds in 1997. When he came to the Greyhounds he was still a
little rough around the edges and needed time to improve and he has done just that over the past
three seasons.

If Gibson does come back next year the Greyhounds defensive corps from this season will be
in tact next year, although Dan Passero is the only Greyhound defenseman who can’t come back for
the 2000-01 season.

The scouting reports all say that Gibson is a strong, physical defenseman. They also state
that strong play in his own zone and man-to-man coverage are his strengths. Those scouting
reports couldn’t be more true as his defensive play is solid.

It surprises me that he has yet to earn himself a professional contract. He is not the best
defenseman available, but he certainly a solid defenseman who does his job well. Gibson, I
think, will likely be back as an overage next season.

While I’m on the topic of overage candidates, here is a look at the Greyhounds other overage
candidates for the 2000-01 season. They include right wingers Ryan Jardine, Nick Jones and Brent
Theobald, left wingers Ryan Milanovic and Josh Bennett, centres Josef Vasicek and Cleon Smith as
well as goaltender Jake McCracken. Those are some pretty good players to choose from and the
Greyhounds will have a tough decision to make as to who to bring back.

One more season of junior hockey with the Greyhounds will do Gibson a world of good and it
may even earn him a tryout somewhere in the minor leagues. Gibson logs quite a bit of ice time
on the Greyhounds blueline as he plays a regular shift as well as killing penalties. Time will
tell as to whether or not Gibson earns himself a pro or minor league contract for next season.