The New York Islanders are hoping for good news on a much larger extension in the next 24 hours, but in the meantime they have come to terms on a new contract with minor league goaltender Christopher Gibson. TVA’s Renaud Lavoie reports that it is a two-year, two-way extension for Gibson. The contract will pay him $650K at the NHL level and $225K at the AHL level in the coming season and $700K in the NHL and $250K in the AHL in 2019-20.
Gibson, 25, was set to be an unrestricted free agent this off-season, but the Finnish keeper was unlikely to draw much attention. The 2011 second-round pick of the Los Angeles Kings was once a highly-touted prospect. However, after a strong start to his junior career with the Chicoutimi Saguenéens of the QMJHL that boosted his draft stock, Gibson stalled in his development over the next two seasons. The Kings chose not to sign him and he became a free agent acquisition of the Toronto Maple Leafs. After finding some success in the AHL with Toronto, Gibson was dealt along with four other prospects to the Islanders in a 2015 trade for Michael Grabner. Since arriving in New York, Gibson has been unable to get back to that same level in the AHL and has struggled greatly in his few call-ups. In twelve NHL appearances, Gibson has three wins, a .902 save percentage, and a 3.58 goals against average.
As it stands, Gibson is second on the depth chart for the Islanders behind Thomas Greiss. However, it is extremely unlikely that Lou Lamoriello and company wish to head into the regular season with either of those goaltenders in their current spots. Gibson has not yet proved that he is anything other than an average AHL goalie and until he does, he is likely to remain just an emergency option in Bridgeport. The two-way nature and minimum salary of his contract reflect this role. Yet, it alleviates any concerns that New York may have had about having to add multiple new goalies on the free agent market this off-season.