Jackets Sign Gabriel

via whl.uploads.mrx.ca

When the Jackets invited Oliver Gabriel to July's prospect camp, nobody really noticed. You can't even find a scouting report on him from last year from the pro services. Despite that, he had a strong showing, including several goals in the prospect tournament.

After Gabriel was one of the few stand-out players from this year's Traverse City squad, people began to take some notice. After scoring a goal and showing great hustle in a pair of pre-season games, the notice became a full-fledged buzz. Had the team found a bit of a surprise in the undrafted winger?

When he returned to Portland and was released from his tryout agreement, there was concern that the team might be unable to get an entry level deal done, and Gabriel would return to the draft pool for 2011.

Have no fear, Jacket Fans, because Scott Howson is a trans-continental ninja.

The Dispatch is reporting that Gabriel has signed an entry level deal, one day before his rights would have reverted to the draft pool. He will continue to play in Portland this year, but don't be surprised if he makes the jump to Springfield (or wherever Columbus has their AHL team) next season. For those who missed info on Gabriel earlier, here's a brief profile on him, in the same style as our Draft Prospect Profiles from this summer.

Position: Left Wing

Date Of Birth: May 13, 1991
Place of Birth: Edmonton, AB
Height: 6' 2" Weight: 193 
Shoots: Left

2009-2010 Stats:

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIMs

41

10

14

24

15

28

(How's he doing since being sent down? A goal and 3 assists in 3 games. Not bad!)

Despite only playing 41 games last season due to a ruptured spleen, Gabriel is a clear offensive performer, and ripped of a 13 game point scoring steak upon his return to the ice. Possessing excellent hands and good playmaking ability, he's also unafraid to drop the gloves and get down to business when called upon in the rough and tumble Dub. (As a matter of fact, a google video search for "Oliver Gabriel Portland WHL gets you...no scoring plays, but eight or nine fights...)

If he can continue to translate his scoring skills to the NHL outside of the pre-season, Gabriel could easily become a Milan Lucic type player, especially if he adds some more muscle to his impressive frame. Able to score, agitate, hit, and fight - he seems like he'd fit in just fine on a future line with Matt Calvert, who he had some good chemistry with in camp.

  

The Jackets kick off their season tomorrow at 3pm against the San Jose Sharks from Stockholm  Sweden. 

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