New York Islanders: Christopher Gibson getting reps wouldn’t be the worst thing

New York Islanders. Christopher Gibson (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
New York Islanders. Christopher Gibson (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

Due to circumstance the New York Islanders might be forced to play Christopher Gibson and shake up the best thing they have going for them, goaltending. While he isn’t ideal, getting him reps isn’t the worst thing.

The New York Islanders have recalled goaltender Christopher Gibson from Bridgeport after Robin Lehner went down with an injury in Tuesday’s game against the Senators. Thomas Greiss was able to come in and help lead the limping Islanders to the win, but the Isles still need Gibson with Lehner’s status unknown.

As the cliche in sports goes: When it rains, it pours. Nothing could be truer for the New York Islanders right now. As if losing two out of three games on a home stand is not bad enough, the Islanders now find themselves deep into the injury game. Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck, and now Robin Lehner are all missing time. Casey Cizikas just got back from him missing some time, too.

The Islanders already lost sole possession of first place in the Metro Division and now they might be without the goalie who helped get them to that point in the first place. However, the Isles are still lucky to an extent.

While I am in no way justifying the hit Brady Tkachuk made on Lehner, which somehow resulted in a goal for the Sens, the fact that Christopher Gibson might need to step up, is, in one word, tantalizing.

While the sample size we have from Gibson with the first team isn’t great, a losing record, a .901 career save percentage, and a 3.56 GAA, he has never been put in a situation like this one.

The Isles recipe for success this season has been stellar defense. Stellar defense that includes each goalie stepping up in a big way. Between Greiss and Lehner, the Isles have allowed the fewest goals in the NHL and have the best goaltending duo in the NHL, in my opinion and statistically.

Much of that success has been directly linked to both Head Coach Barry Trotz and his Goaltending staff. In particular, Mitch Korn, the director of goaltending. He has revived the on-ice careers of both Lehner and Greiss. Yes, they both have a better defense in front of them not, but they still mind between the pipes and execute.

Korn has done so well that Robin Lehner, before the injury, was on pace to shatter his win totals, amongst others stats. Meanwhile, Greiss is one pace to set a career high in SV% and GAA.

If Korn coming in with Trotz is a direct correlation to the improvement of those two, I can only begin to imagine what he could do with Gibson. While Gibson is far from an ideal goalie for the team right now, we must have faith. Korn and Trotz have made every goalie they touched this season better, why should we just assume Gibson would ruin that.

Plus, the Isles only have two more sets of back to back games left this season. Even if Lehner does not come back, there is a high chance Griesser just takes on the higher load, a role he has proved he could handle this season.

Also, let’s keep thinking big picture, just like the Isles front office seems to be doing. In a worst case scenario, the Isles might lose out on both Lehner and Sergei Bobrovsky is free agency, I wouldn’t exactly pick up the phone for a guy like Jimmy Howard, Cam Ward, or Semyon Varlamov this summer either. Maybe Gibson shows us he can handle something next year, too if need be, who knows. But, this isn’t about this right now.

The fact of the matter is the Islanders need goalie depth, every team does. The Isles also need to be mindful that the playoffs could very well be a thing and they shouldn’t want to a) rush Lehner back or b) ride Greiss out to the point he burns himself out before the regular season concludes.

Having Gibson come in and work this marvelous staff, who have a track record of tapping goalies’ potential is not the worst thing. Of course, nobody wants to see Lehner miss time or be seriously injured, but things happen in hockey. If Gibson comes in willing to learn and knows he is going to have to start some games and help the Isles win hockey games, I am sure this staff could help him succeed.

The Islanders have not had a goalie problem all season. However, even beyond this season, and that is just bonus, the Isles might not ever have a goalie problem because the system might just be that fool-proof. So, give Gibson a chance. He could end up being an incredible number three goalie and an important changing of the course type player for the Isles.

Regardless of how much time Lehner misses, if any, Christopher Gibson could still use a few reps this season, or at the very least more time on the first team learning from this wonderful coaching. It’s just a matter of if he will literally need to or not.

Next. How Josh Bailey is quietly one of the best Islanders players ever. dark

In Barry I trust.