With Matts Zuccarello still finding his way back from that fractured skull and Marty St. Louis counting his money enjoying retirement, the Rangers may be in the market for an undersized scorer.
Enter Brian Gibbons, who at 5’8”, is trying to earn a roster spot.
“I like to give it my all every shift, use my speed which is one of my assets, and try to buzz around the ice and create turnovers…get in on the fore check, play solid defense and chip in offensively,” Gibbons said after the Rangers 6-3 preseason win over the Devils.
Being in the market is one thing and maybe that’s why the Rangers signed the 27 year-old. But with competition on wing with JT Miller, Jesper Fast, Viktor Stralberg, Emerson Etem, Taylor Glass, and even Oscar Lindberg fighting for a spot, Gibbons most likely will be slated for Hartford.
But with No. 14 on his back, he looked a little like Theo Fleury out there tonight scoring the first goal and getting two assists.
“I was able to get a good bounce early,” he said. “They turned one over, the shot went in and I think that got some confidence going. I did some good things, but there are still some things I need to work on and get better at. It was a good place to start, I guess.”
What attracted Gibbons to the Rangers was his Boston College connection where he played with both Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes. If he does make the Rangers or at least comes up sometime this season, the team hopes that college chemistry comes through.
“In college in particular, (he was) the best player I played with,” Kreider said. You see the poise, and he’s so fun to watch. He’s electrifying, high in skill, he’s dynamic. He’s a game changer and he sees things other people don’t.”
Two years ago, Gibbons played 41 games for Pittsburgh scoring five goals and 12 assists and had two goals and an assist in eight playoff games.
He then signed with Columbus and had 25 games with the varsity with five assists.
Now he is looking for a shot on Broadway.
“I think every time you get the chance to show the coaches you can play at this level, that they can trust you on the ice in different situations,” Gibbons said. “I think that’s all I am looking to do – to show I can play at this level.”
If the Rangers need another pint sized scorer this season, Gibbons is their man.