(Editor’s Note: This is another installment of Detroit Hockey Now updates on some of the Detroit Red Wings’ top prospects. Today’s subject is defenseman Andrew Gibson from Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)).
Andrew Gibson was overcome by emotion when the Detroit Red Wings selected him 42nd overall at the NHL draft in Nashville last month.
“I was shaking,” he recalled. “I barely remember the feeling but looking at my parents, how much they helped me to get here, and being around the people I love and my agents as well, it was just amazing.”
The love of the game, and the passion, demonstrated by that quote is just one of many reasons why the Red Wings liked Gibson.
Soo Greyhound Andrew Gibson is up next for the Wings pic.twitter.com/8S6aiK0EpA
— Red Wings Rant (@Red_Wings_Rant) June 29, 2023
At a time when the Red Wings are committed to getting bigger, stronger and harder to play against, drafting Gibson made too much sense.
“Big right-shot D man,” said Kris Draper who is an assistant general manager and director of amateur scouting. “He’s got good size. A puck-moving D. He’s got good hockey sense. Skates well, has a bit of an edge to his game.”
His shot from the point has plenty of sizzle.
The Red Wings liked the entire package, enough to view him as a second-round pick. The NHL’s Central Scouting had him ranked 31st among North American skaters. Craig Button slotted him 63rd. Red Line Report had him pegged at 73rd.
Gibson suffered a lower body injury that kept him out of lineup for several weeks, but he returned in time to make Canada’s U18 team for the World Championships.
“We were able to see him play obviously against some pretty high competition and in some pretty good situations,” Draper said.
The Red Wings believe Gibson has a chance to develop into a heavy hitter.
“He has it in him,” Draper said. “He will play physical. He’s got a little cross check, a little bite in his game. He certainly doesn’t back down from that side of it…has a nice little edge in his game as well.”
Gibson is tough in front of the net, and his strong skating stride helps him defend well. Red Line Report says he needs to improve “on his awareness and positioning.”
The Red Wings drafted him because he has a high upside. He has enough offensive ability to be a second pairing guy and enough edge in his game to be a shutdown guy. He will play another season in the Ontario Hockey League, and then turn pro next summer. We would expect to see him with the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2024-25. It will take some time to figure out how to blend his abilities together.
Gibson sees himself as a two-way defender.
“I’m looking to use my size more to my advantage within the next couple of years,” Gibson said. “I think I can make an impact for the team.”