May 21, 2012

Maine native, USHL standout Gillies commits to Providence

By Jesse Connolly

At first, his heart was set on attending Northeastern. When those plans were no longer feasible, he gave consideration to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Now, after weighing all of his options, Indiana Ice goaltender Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine) has decided he’ll be joining Hockey East after all. 

Jon Gillies was the only USHL goalie to crack the top 20 in Central Scouting's rankings of the best North American netminders eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft. (Whiteshark Photography)

As first reported by Nathan Fournier of Maine Hockey Journal (no affiliation to NEHJ, for those wondering), Gillies has committed to Providence.

Fate threw a wrench in his initial plans in March, as NU goalie Chris Rawlings unexpectedly decided he’d return for his senior season, prompting Gillies to ask to be released from his National Letter of Intent.

“The (Northeastern) coaching staff had a really good relationship with my family and me,” Gillies told Fournier in late March. “When Chris Rawlings decided to return for his senior year. That’s not what we planned on as a group, so the circumstances have changed and Mr. (Jim) Madigan (Northeastern Head Coach) was amazing throughout the whole process.”

Gillies, 18, finished his second year with the USHL’s Indiana Ice with a 31-11-9 record, 2.77 goals-against average and .915 save percentage in 53 games. He ranked fourth in Central Scouting’s midseason rankings for North American goalies but finished sixth in the final rankings.

“Gillies is the prototypical netminder teams are looking for these days,” an NHL scout told New England Hockey Journal’s Kirk Luedeke back in February. “He’s very big, has a lot of quickness and plays with a swagger that you want in a player. He’s poised and confident, and in my mind brings the right mix of physical tools and mental toughness to the position.”

The 6-foot-4 netminder was torn when deciding between the Quebec Ramparts and Providence Friars, as the role of No. 1 goalie was offered by both clubs.

“They both (said), ‘It’s your net. Until you give it up and stop earning it, it’s going to be your net,’” Gillies said of his discussions with the two teams. 

Gillies is confident he made the right decision and will now turn his attention to the NHL Draft Combine, which will take place up in Toronto from May 28 – June 2.

“Look at (Providence coach Nate Leaman’s) track record and look what they have done,” he told Fournier. “Coach Leaman is a winner. He has been wherever he has gone. I felt like it was the right fit.”

Jesse Connolly can be reached at jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.