Mitchell Gibson All About Details Heading Into First Professional Season

Washington Capitals goaltending prospect
Mitchell Gibson is heading into his first professional season with a details-oriented mentality. 

For young goaltenders like Gibson, that mindset is critical.

“Just staying on it. Getting one percent better every year,” Gibson said during Capitals development camp. “Everyday in practice working on the little things, paying attention to the details. For the next level, those details are really gonna add up.”

Numbers wise, Gibson took sizable steps in his development at Harvard. In his final season with the Crimson, he went 18-7-2 with a 2.25 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. His 18 wins tied his career high, he set back in 2021-22, and his 2.25 goals-against average was the third best in the ECAC. The Pheonixville, Pa., native was also named to the ECAC Second All-Star team and the ECAC All-Ivy League First squad.

Once he finished his collegiate career, Gibson joined the Hershey Bears for their playoff run. He admired watching Bears goaltender Hunter Shepard carry them to their 12th Calder Cup, and wants to use that experience to kickstart his pro career. 

“Shepard had a pretty good run there for a while. So being able to see what he’s doing to be successful, and obviously the big thing is winning,” Gibson said. “So to see a guy that carried his team throughout the playoffs was really cool to see.”

Now heading into his rookie campaign, with either Hershey or South Carolina, the 6-foot-1 goaltender believes he has the fundamentals down, and only has to build off of those by making subtle changes.

“I think my game is to the point where I don’t have to change too much,” Gibson said. “For myself right now it’s head tracking, making sure my head is on the puck at all times, reading the play [and] reading the release. The releases are only going to get better from here on out.”

There will be a lot of competition for the backup job in Chocolate Town this fall, as Gibson will be competing alongside Clay Stevenson and Garin Bjorklund for the backup role to Hunter Shepard.

“I think it’d be really healthy competition when it comes to training camp,” assistant general manager Ross Mahoney said in an interview with Mike Vogel. “I’m excited to get him into pro hockey. Where he ends up is up to him, and that will be decided by the coaches.”

Along with having an attention to details mindset, the 24-year-old also has a competitive edge to his personality, which will help him in training camp next month.

“He never wanted to get scored on. He fought for every puck, even in practice and little drills here and there [during] rebound games and stuff like that.” Former Lone Star Brahmas teammate Ture Linden said. “He’s very analytical about the game and breaks things down and analyzes it throughout the game and knows the tendencies of certain players. As a goalie, you have to pick up tendencies of shooters and stuff, and I think he’s got that pretty down pat. I just think he understands the game well. Not only stopping the puck, but also moving the puck and making the right play.”

The Capitals signed the 2018 fourth-round pick to a one-year contract back in April. While the ultimate dream of a young goaltender is being the backstopper of a franchise, Gibson is aware that he has to start small and slowly work his way up the ladder. 

Washington has been known in the past to develop successful goaltenders.

“Whatever happens with where I go, I’ll accept it,” Gibson said. “It’s definitely going to be a great developing organization, that’s what they proved they do all these years.”

By Jacob Cheris

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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3 Responses to Mitchell Gibson All About Details Heading Into First Professional Season

  1. novafyre says:

    The South Carolina Stingrays resigned forwards Ryan Leibold and Ian Mackey to contracts for the 2023-24 season. Leibold returns to South Carolina for his first full season of professional hockey. The Ashburn, Virginia native tallied four points (1g-3a) in nine games with the Stingrays last season. Mackey rejoins the Stingrays after recording three points (2g-1a) in eight games with the team last season.

  2. toemac says:

    “Where he ends up is up to him, and that will be decided by the coaches.”

    That’s an interesting sentence to parse.

  3. Anonymous says:

    No…… Hershey develops Washington’s young goaltenders and after getting to Washington the team hangs them out to dry and they become scape goats for the GM’s inability to put a good team in front of them. Holtby was a gifted goalie, Samsanov and Vanny were products of the team in front of them like Kuemper and Lindgren. I actually believe Lindgren is a better goalie than Kuemper.

    One thing Colorado showed the league is you can have a mid tear goalie in net and if the team in front of him is good you can win a cup. Put that goalie on a firing range like the Caps and you do not have a chance. It was no different when Holtby was there….well the only difference was that Holtby was just amazing and over performed. Kuemper’s contract reflects his cup win not his consistent ability to perform in the worst of conditions. Which is the Caps.

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