The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed a possible piece of their future as they have signed goaltender Antione Bibeau to an entry-level contract. The deal is for three years. The Leafs selected Bibeau with their sixth-round pick (172nd overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft.
Since he was drafted, Bibeau has had quite the season. He most recently helped the QMJHL’s Val-d’Or Foreurs to a third-place finish in the 2014 Memorial Cup. He kept his team in the fight for as long as he could in their final game before finally losing to the eventual champion Edmonton Oil Kings in triple overtime. Bibeau was named the tournament’s top goaltender.
Before that, Bibeau was named the MVP of the QMJHL Playoffs. The last time that award was given to a goaltender was in 2007. Who was the recipient? It just so happened to be current Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier.
Do the Leafs have a hidden gem in Bibeau? That remains to be seen as goaltenders usually take 4-5 years after their drafted to make an impact in the NHL. That means it will probably be a while before we see him in a Leaf uniform in a regular season again.
The question is where he will be playing next season? Will it be back in Val-d’Or or will it be in Toronto with the Marlies? It is probably the former since the Marlies have Drew MacIntyre, Garret Sparks and Christopher Gibson already in their depth chart. Even if MacIntyre leaves as an unrestricted free agent or is brought up to the Leafs to replace James Reimer, the other two will be there regardless. So it’s best for Bibeau to remain in Val-d’Or for at least one more season.