Welcome to our series on who wore each number best for the Penguins.
The idea is being openly borrowed from our new hockey writer, Cody Tucker, and his project at the Lansing State Journal covering all the uniform numbers worn through Michigan State football history, one that’s been well received by their readers and prompted heavy discussion and debate.
Under my organization, and following the voting of a big chunk of our staff, we’ll publish one new one each day until completion, which should be right around the start of training camp.
Name: Brian Gibbons
Position: Left wing
Born: Feb. 26, 1988, in Braintree, Mass.
Seasons with Penguins: 2013-14
Statistics with Penguins: 41 games, five goals, 12 assists in regular season; eight games, two goals, one assist in playoffs
[caption id="attachment_677484" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Brian Gibbons and Brandon Sutter. -- AP PHOTO[/caption]
Mario Lemieux. Jake Guentzel. Brian Gibbons.
What do these guys all have in common?
First shot, first game, first goal. Probably the only time Gibbons' name will ever be mentioned in the same breath as Lemieux's.
Gibbons' NHL debut came on Nov. 18, 2013, only 12 hours after he was recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Early in the third period, Gibbons found himself on the ice with Evgeni Malkin on a line change. Malkin fed Gibbons the puck after a great individual effort, and Gibbons easily snapped it into the net:
A minute later, Gibbons earned his first NHL assist on a Brandon Sutter deflection, the eventual game-winning goal. His efforts won him First Star of the game honors. Not a bad debut for the 5-foot-8, 160-pound undrafted forward out of Boston College.
Gibbons scored two goals in the playoffs that year, both in Game 2 of the first round series against Columbus -- including this short-handed breakaway tally:
Gibbons spent more games in the AHL during his three years in the Penguins organization, playing 168 total games for Wilkes-Barre. He was on the 2013 team that became the first AHL team to ever come back from an 0-3 series deficit and win Game 7 on the road. In the 2014 playoffs, Gibbons scored this incredible goal that made its way onto SportsCenter's Top 10:
Gibbons became an unrestricted free agent in 2014 and signed a one-year deal with the Blue Jackets.
WHAT'S HE DOING NOW?
Gibbons split time between the Blue Jackets and their AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons, in 2014-15. He signed with the New York Rangers the following year, but spent the entirety of the season with the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack.
Gibbons earned a professional tryout offer with the New Jersey Devils for the 2016-17 season, which later turned into a one-year AHL contract with the Albany Devils. After a full, successful year with Albany, Ray Shero signed Gibbons to an NHL-level deal with New Jersey for 2017-18. Gibbons missed time with a broken thumb, but remained in the NHL the entire season, registering 12 goals and 14 assists in 59 games.
This summer, Gibbons signed a one-year contract worth $1 million with the Anaheim Ducks. It was an eventful summer for Gibbons, as he also got married in June. Former Boston College and Wilkes-Barre teammate Brian Dumoulin was in attendance.
Gibbons has a 1-year old son, Ty.
IT WAS SPOKEN
"I just went to the net and luckily got good wood on the shot. -- Gibbons on his first NHL goal
HONORABLE MENTIONS AT NO. 49
No. A few players -- Dominik Simon, Greg Andrusak, Matt Hussey -- wore the number for a few games, but mainly wore other numbers. This one has to go to Gibby.
Tomorrow: I have No. 50.
Yesterday: Tyler Kennedy
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