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Andrew Gibson, Egor Surin Stand Out In Predators Future Stars Game

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Photo of Andrew Gibson courtesy of the Nashville Predators

Nashville Predators newcomers Andrew Gibson and Egor Surin made the most of their first auditions with the club on Saturday.

Both players performed well in the Future Stars Game at Ford Ice Center Bellevue, capping the team’s weeklong development camp for its top prospects. The matchup ended in a 4-4 tie, but Surin’s Team Blue won the first intermission shootout 1-0 and the postgame shootout 2-1 to take the victory over Team Gold.

Gibson’s Predators debut came less than two weeks after Nashville acquired him from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft and forward Jesse Kiiskinen on June 25.

“At first, I was in shock,” Gibson said. “You don’t think of getting traded that young. When I got the call from Barry Trotz, he told me how excited he was to have me. I felt very comfortable and welcomed into the organization. I’m very happy to be here.”

Gibson showed on multiple occasions Saturday why Nashville coveted him. The 2023 second-round pick helped Team Gold knot the score at four on a slapshot from the point with six minutes remaining.

He also used his 6-foot-3, 196-pound frame to his advantage, keeping pucks in the zone with his long reach and preventing opposing forwards from having easy looks on goal. Most of his work early in the game came alongside fellow defensive prospect Tanner Molendyk, who impressed in his own right and scored on a penalty shot.

In the second period, Gibson deflected a shot from Teddy Stiga and then won a puck battle with Surin in front of the net to eliminate a potential scoring chance.

“I like to play physical, but I can also play with the puck,” Gibson said. “I can play on both sides. I love killing penalties and blocking shots. That’s a weird thing about me. I genuinely like blocking shots and hearing the crowd get going, getting the guys going and making the most out of it.”

Surin wasted no time in registering his name on the scoresheet.

Last week’s No. 22 overall pick netted a goal less than four minutes into the game. The forward later assisted on tallies by Nolan Burke and Kasper Kulonummi, who finished the day with a pair of goals.

Surin, a 17-year-old from Russia, hasn’t shied away from the language barrier, either. He told reporters at the draft in Las Vegas, “I like make hit … and, for me, also no problem if I fight.”

Count Team Gold forward Kalan Lind as a witness. He absorbed one of Surin’s checks while trying to break out of the zone in the first period, losing the puck near his own net in the process.

“You watch him today and (you see) he has the skill and the work ethic,” Lind said of Surin. “He’s going to be a really good player in this league. He’s dumping pucks, going and chasing as hard as he can, running guys all over the ice and putting the puck in the net. He’s a very good hockey player. I like his game.”

Molendyk, Felix Nilsson and Viktor Norringer scored their goals in rapid succession to erase Team Blue’s 3-0 lead and ignite the crowd in the second period.

For most of the prospects, it was their first time playing in front of Nashville fans. That opportunity wasn’t lost on Gibson and the other youngsters.

“To see where I’ve come so far, I’m very proud and humbled to be here and to be able to experience this,” Gibson said. “It’s every kid’s dream. To be living that right now, it’s an unreal feeling.”

Follow Russell Vannozzi on X/Twitter @RussellV_MSP.

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