Oilers #3 Prospect December 2007: Tom Gilbert

Current Rank: 3
Summer 2007 Rank: 4

Tom Gilbert will turn 25 in January. He’s an NHL player, and really doesn’t belong on this list. However, he won’t play his 50th NHL game until later this year so despite being 6 years and 7 months older than Sam Gagner he’s on my list.

Gilbert imo is the ideal player-type for the new “headman pass” NHL. He’s good enough defensively to be very effective in all areas, plus he can carry the puck and pass it very effectively. Extremely skilled, calm feet, has size and brains. I remember the day EDM acquired him, I was driving into work and Bryn Griffiths mentioned his name as the guy coming back from the Avs for Tommy Salo. I was kind of surprised they got a warm body instead of a pick for a goalie who appeared to be running out the string, but I guess GMs never know about goalies either.

Gilbert had an excellent final season at Wisconsin, scoring a mammoth goal for his team. One hopes he can one day bookend it with a goal for the Oilers to win the Stanley.

In looking at Oiler rookie seasons by defensemen over the years, Gilbert’s season offensively looks like it’ll be among the best we’ve seen. He’s at 26gp, 3-5-8 which over an entire season would put him around 25 points, and that would slot him on a list of the very best offensive rookie seasons for Oiler defensemen.

I don’t know where you’d slot him on a healthy Oilers depth chart. Of the defensemen who have played 10 games or more with the Oilers, his -1 ranks him best in plus minus. Even with Pitkanen, Staios, Souray, Tarnstrom and Greene healthy, I think Tom Gilbert is one of the 4 best options on this team.

The one thing he is unlikely to do (and Cogliano and Gagner should do) is improve markedly from where he is today.

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15 Responses to "Oilers #3 Prospect December 2007: Tom Gilbert"

  1. Ribs says:

    I remember hearing about this trade as well. I was wondering what the heck? Is he injured or something? A buddy of mine was high on him in his draft year and after delving into his stats and whatnot, it was enough for me to wish we could draft him.

    No such luck there, but lowe and behold, we acquire him for the rotting husk of Tommy Salo.

    He kind of reminds me of Kevin Lowe on the ice actually. He sees the play very well and can put passes on sticks. A bit more grit from him and he’ll be a star for sure.

  2. doritogrande says:

    When you say he likely won’t improve as much from his current position as Cogliano or Gagner, do you mean he won’t likely project higher than the top-pairing defender he currently is on this team?

    Size, poise, passing ability, offensive instincts, defensive responsibility…what else do we need? What else do you want?

  3. Santa Merda says:


    You and I both know that if our other D-men were all healthy, Gilbert would not be top-pair. Top 4, probably, but even that’s not certain with the Blender setting the lines.

  4. Dennis says:

    I’m not ready to give up on 24 just yet, though he’s a super high event guy right now, so I’d say Gilbert’s the second best D we have right now. Him and 25 are pretty close at 2-3, and that’s given 25 some clearance because of his ’04 and 06 seasons. I’m talking in terms of just EV play because I’ve got an idea of how I’d run our D if everyone was healthy but if we’re talking overall value, I have to give Souray some credit because of what he can do on the PP.

    Anyway, back to 77, he’s blipping a little bit in his own end but he’s still not throwing pucks up the middle or forgetting to take his man. He made a stupid play last night to lead to the Getzlaf goal but those mistakes are rare. And the good thing about the blips is that they really aren’t that bad.

    Not too long ago, it seems like the guy was hardly ever making any mistakes so I’m curious to see how long this little lull lasts. It might be, too, that he was playing his best and feeling his most comfortable with Tarnstrom. To tell you the truth, I don’t really like the 77/25 tandem. Maybe they’ll round out or maybe we could go 24/77 as the first pairing and 5/25 as the second one.

    Anyway, the whole thing with Salo just wore me out and I was glad we picked up anything for him. The interesting story about that deal was something that was reported by Matheson not too long ago. Lowe was offered his choice of three D in exchange for Salo. One was Keith Ballard, one was Gilbert and the other was a local kid. I can’t remember the name now.

    Anyway, Ballard’s the best of the lot so far but Gilbert looks damn good too.

    I’m just shocked that Lowe didn’t take the local kid;)

  5. doritogrande says:

    Santa Merda,

    Given his play with the injuries, I’m debating this point. Pitkanen and Souray are locks in the top-4 but not necessarily on the same line. I see Pitkanen being our top-pair and whoever plays with him getting the title of top-pair defender. Choices are Staios, Greene or Gilbert.

    Greene’s younger than Gilbert and doesn’t exactly seem to be the type that Pitkanen needs with him. Staios is better, but given the shitty year he’s having, I’d still be inclined to go with Gilbert because he seems to have good chemistry with Pitkanen. Greene and Staios are more likely to play with Souray, as he really does need the sheltering of a defense-first partner.

  6. Dennis says:

    I’d put all of 24-25-77-5 ahead of Souray at EV

  7. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: 5? FIVE? Number FIVE!!!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!!!


    Somewhere, Tommy Albelin is smiling. :-)

  8. Dennis says:

    Lain, I put him ahead of Sheldon Souray, a guy that last year finished -28 playing on the third pairing:)

  9. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: Because you like him. You really, really like him.


  10. mc79hockey says:

    Are you like me LT? Sick of Dennis defending the return on that awful Pronger trade? I mean honestly – enough already.

  11. Lowetide says:

    MC: Exactly! We got three assets! Or, something!

  12. MikeP says:

    Dennis is a Loweapologist at heart, he just won’t admit it.

  13. PDO says:


    Don’t forget they were cheap assets!

    Can anyone think of a player they’d compare Gilbert to? Timmonen?

  14. Ribs says:

    *cough* Kevin Lowe *end cough*

  15. jon says:

    Gilbert could never in his wildest dreams hope to have the physical presence that Lowe did.

    For a comparable, how about a lesser Wade Redden? Good not but not great offensive technical skills coupled with a heady, intelligent game. Redden obviously has the better pedigree, but I think the results for the 25-30 year old seasons could be comparable.

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