Local Hockey Players Make Splash in NHL Draft

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Sunday, June 26, 2011 | 12:00 AM


Three amateur hockey players from the Pittsburgh area were selected among the first 64 players selected in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft on Friday and Saturday at the XCel Energy Center in Minnesota.

Here is a breakdown on each player with information courtesy of NHL.com

JOHN GIBSON – Baldwin-Whitehall – Goaltender – Taken in 2nd Round with 39th overall pick by the Anaheim Ducks

-Gibson has committed to the University of Michigan for the fall of 2011.

– He won gold for Team USA at the 2011 Under-18 World Championships in Germany. He backstopped the U.S. to back-to-back overtime wins in the semifinal against Canada and the final against Sweden. Gibson was named the Best Goaltender of the tournament for his 2.34 goals-against average and .926 save percentage.

– He finished the USHL regular season with a 9-4-3 record in 17 games.

– A Pittsburgh Hornet alum he is one of four former Hornets to be ranked by Central Scouting for this year?Aos draft — forwards Brandon Saad (No. 19 ranked) and Jonathan Miller (No. 23 ranked) as well as goaltender Michael Houser (No. 19 ranked goaltender).

– He won gold at the 2010 World Under-17 Challenge stealing the show in the gold medal game stopping 38 of 39 shots with the only Ontario goal coming with one second left. Gibson was named player of the game in two of his three starts and finished the tournament with a 1.33 goals-against average and a 0.957 save percentage.

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BRANDON SAAD – Pine-Richland – Left Wing – Taken in 2nd Round with 43rd overall pick by the Chicago Black Hawks

– In the 2011 Ontario Hockey League playoffs Saad finished third on the team with 12 points (3-9–12) in 12 games — Saginaw was eliminated by Windsor the defending Memorial Cup Champions. During the regular season he was tied for second on the team with 27 goals (27-28–55) and 12 powerplay goals in 59 games.

– A gold medalist at the 2010 Under-18 World Championships Saad competed for the U.S. Under-18 National Team Development Program in 2009-10 — he led the team with 58 points (29-29–58) in 63 games. He was one of the final seven players cut from the U.S. roster for the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championships.

– Born of Syrian descent (his father is from Syria) Saad played one season with the North American Hockey League?Aos Mahoning Valley Phantoms in 2008-09 alongside his older brother George. He was named the NAHL?Aos Rookie of the Year after finishing the season with 47 points (29-18–47) in 47 games. He was also selected to the All-NAHL team the All-North division team and the All-Rookie team.

– A Pittsburgh Hornet alum he is one of four former Hornets to be ranked by Central Scouting for this year?Aos draft — goaltenders John Gibson (No. 1 ranked goaltender) and Michael Houser (No. 19 ranked goaltender) and forward Jonathan Miller (No. 23 ranked).

– At the Under-14 U.S. National Championships he won both the puck relay event and the breakaway contest at the skills competition.

– In his freshman year of high school he played for Pine-Richland High School in his hometown Gibsonia and former Pittsburgh Penguins forward Troy Loney was his coach. A Pittsburgh fan he goes to watch the Penguins any time he is home during the hockey season.

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VINCE TROCHECK – Upper St. Clair – Center – Taken in 3rd Round with 64th overall pick by the Florida Panthers

– In 2010-11 he finished tied for the team lead with five short-handed goals and third on the team with 62 points (26-36–62) in 68 games with Saginaw.

– Trocheck represented the U.S. at the 2010 Ivan Hlinka Tournament — he posted one goal and two assists (1-2–3) in five games winning silver.

– He moved with his family to Michigan at age 13 where he played in the Little Caesars AAA program — winning the USA Hockey Bantam Major National Championship (1993) the Under-14 Michigan State Championship and the Under-18 Buc Bowl Midget Major Championship.

– Highlights of his minor hockey career include winning back-to-back championships with Little Caesars and being drafted to the Saginaw Spirit in the Ontario Hockey League.

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