Antoine Bibeau – #30 in QMJHL. 30 isn’t used currently by a Marlie
Birthplace: Victoriaville, Quebec
How he got here: Drafted 172nd overall, round six, 2013
Contract Status: three years left on his entry level deal (RFA)
Bibeau has been the starting goalie for the Prince Edward Island Rocket, who became the Charlottetown Islanders and most recently the Val d’Or Foreurs in the QMJHL. Last season he led the Foreurs to the QMJHL Championship and was named outstanding goaltender at the Memorial Cup.
2013-2014 Season Recap
Last season Bibeau put himself on the map. Despite a rocky start as the starting goalie for the Charlottetown Islanders, a mid season trade to Val d’Or catapulted him to success. Following a solid regular season, Bibeau upped his game for the playoffs and helped push the team to the QMJHL Championship. He’s the first QMJHL goalie since Jonathan Bernier to win the playoff MVP.
He went on to have a very good Memorial Cup run and despite being knocked out in triple OT in the semis. Started the year 8-11-5 with a 3.29 GAA and .911 SV% for Charlottetown before being traded to Val d’Or. 13-7-1 with a 3.03 GAA and .900 SV% in the regular season for the Foreurs. 16-4-4 with a 2.80 GAA and .913 SV% in the playoffs. 2-1-1 with a 2.76 GAA and .932 SV% in the Memorial Cup.
Strengths and Weaknesses
While still a young goalie in the Leafs farm system, Bibeau is more experienced in the playoffs than either of the other two goalies, having won a QMJHL championship and played in a Memorial Cup. In fact he played more playoff than regular season games for Val d’Or. He’s cool under pressure as Val d’Or was routinely outshot in the playoffs and Memorial Cup, yet Bibeau weathered the storm. Bibeau is a strong goalie, solid on his skates and unafraid on contact in his crease. He’s got a quick glove and good positioning.
There were a lot of questions regarding Bibeau after the Memorial Cup. Since he was drafted last summer by the Leafs, he could have not been signed and returned to junior as an overeager. However the Leafs inked Bibeau to his entry level deal in June.
It appears at current that the Leafs believe he’s ready to move up to the AHL and another season in junior wouldn’t help him develop on the path they want. As such Bibeau is likely to play with the Marlies this season, however both Garret Sparks and Christopher Gibson played in the ECHL and AHL last year and have a leg up on him.
Maple Leafs Depth Chart
In theory Bibeau is the fifth goalie on the Leafs depth chart, behind Bernier and Reimer in the NHL and Gibson and Sparks in the AHL. That being said, Bibeau could beat out one or both of the AHL goalies for more playing time and become the Marlies starter, which would catapult him to third on the depth chart.
He’s the second cousin of former NHLer Mario Gosselin. Gosselin was an NHL goalie for the Quebec Nordiques, L.A. Kings and Hartford Whalers from 1983-94.
2014-2015 Season Potential
The potential has a big range as it’s not even known which league Bibeau will play in next year. He’s got a solid chance to hang on with the Marlies and earn some playing time, but that’s just that, a chance, not a guarantee.
All three goalie prospects could split duties for the Marlies or two could stay in the AHL while one is assigned to the ECHL. Right now it appears that training camp will go a long way to determining who will get how much playing time. While he had a great playoff and an even better Memorial Cup, it’s worth remembering that he was poor at the beginning of the season last year.
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