By Katie Adler
The Washington Capitals plan to sign goaltender Mitchell Gibson to an NHL contract, according to a report from The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir.
The Harvard University goaltender was previously selected by the Capitals in the fourth round, 124th overall, in the 2018 NHL draft.
The #Caps intend to sign 2018 fourth round pick Mitchell Gibson, I’m told. The Harvard goalie’s season ended yesterday.
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) March 25, 2023
Gibson’s season finished Friday night when Harvard lost 8-1 in the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals. In a disappointing finish to an otherwise impressive season, the game marked the first time all season Gibson was pulled from his net.
Gibson ranked third this season among all goaltenders in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) in both save percentage (.919) and goals-against average (2.25). In 27 games played, he posted a record of 18-7-2. He was also named a semifinalist for the 2023 Mike Richter Award, given to the top goaltender in Division I men’s hockey.
Mitchell Gibson (#ALLCAPS) robs Michael Gildon on the doorstep to keep @HarvardMHockey within one of Ohio State.#NCAATournament pic.twitter.com/MqCHV44SgZ
— EP Rinkside (@EPRinkside) March 24, 2023
As a junior, Gibson made ECAC’s All-League Second Team, having previously made the ECAC’s All-Rookie Team as a freshman. He served as Harvard’s starting goaltender throughout his college career, even posting a 7-0 shutout win against rival Yale at Madison Square Garden as a rookie.
Without additional roster moves, Gibson is unlikely to crack the Caps’ NHL lineup anytime soon. Darcy Kuemper is signed through 2027 and backup Charlie Lindgren is signed through 2025. Though the Hershey Bears’ tandem of Zach Fucale and Hunter Shepard are both on expiring deals, both Clay Stevenson and Garin Bjorklund of the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays are signed to NHL deals.
Since he was drafted, Gibson attended Capitals’ Development Camps in 2018, 2019, and 2022 (there was no camp in either 2020 or 2021). At the 2019 camp, Gibson showed off his awesome aviator-themed mask on the Capitals’ Instagram.
Gibson’s college career, like that of many players his age, was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Though he is a senior at Harvard, he has played only three seasons of NCAA hockey, missing a year of play after the Ivy League canceled the 2020-21 season. He thus retains one additional year of NCAA eligibility.
Assuming Gibson does not return to Harvard, the Capitals will retain his rights through August 15th, per the NHL CBA. Should he choose not to sign with the Caps before then, he will become an unrestricted free agent.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong
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