Points from the Blue

This is Tom Gilbert. I think his role will change on the Oilers in 08-09. He spent 185 minutes (10%) of his time on the PP, 207 minutes (11%) on the PK and 79% at 5×5, 4×4, etc.

Much of Gilbert’s PP minutes (and the minutes devoted to Stoll, Pitkanen and others) will likely end up being given to Sheldon Souray and Lubimor Visnovsky.

Had Sheldon Souray played the entire schedule, he would have (based on the games he was healthy) been at or near 350 PP minutes. Visnovsky spent 376 minutes on the LA powerplay.

Adding up ALL of the Oilers’ D and Jarret Stoll’s numbers we get a total of 1,058 minutes. Obviously the two six-million dollar men on the D won’t get all of the minutes but it’s fairly certain a player like Gilbert won’t be adding a couple of hundred minutes to this PP total in 08-09.

So, I thought it might be a nice idea to list the Oilers’ D point production at both EVs and PP during the 07-08 season. Understand Visnovsky and Souray had off-seasons but it’s interesting all the same.

5×5 pts/60
  1. Tom Gilbert 0.98
  2. Denis Grebeshkov 0.84
  3. Lubimor Visnovsky 0.80
  4. Sheldon Souray 0.76
  5. Steve Staios 0.65
  6. Ladislav Smid 0.25

To give you some perspective, Jordan Leopold (COL) led the division with 1.13, Dion Phaneuf(CGY) was 0.95/60 at 5×5 , Brent Burns(MIN) is 0.90, Matthias Ohlund(VCR) is at 0.83 (leading scorer, by team). I’m not saying Gilbert is better than Phaneuf, just suggesting that Gilbert had a real nice year in this narrow view.

5x4pts/60 (100+ minutes)

  1. Tom Gilbert 3.01
  2. Lubimor Visnovsky 2.77
  3. Joni Pitkanen 2.11
  4. Sheldon Souray 1.72
  5. Denis Grebeshkov 1.26

In the division, Phaneuf(CGY) was at 4.45, Brent Burns(MIN) 4.15, , Sami Salo(VCR) 3.71 and JM Liles(COL) 3.15. This makes it clear that the Oilers probably did need an upgrade (either a healthy Souray or a more complete PP performer like Visnovsky) for the special teams.

But you know what? Tom Gilbert’s a pretty nice hockey player.

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30 Responses to "Points from the Blue"

  1. spOILer says:

    Best K-Lowe interview of all time on Stauffer’s show. Just ripped Burke to pieces.

    Hopefully Gregor replays it later.

  2. Lowetide says:

    It was tremendous. Among the hilites:

    1. Burke is a moron.
    2. Selanne?
    3. Anaheim may not be the best hockey market.
    4. Ritch Winter is a nice guy.

  3. Knamely Lacked says:

    There’s only so much a guy can take before he finally reacts.

    This was Lowe reacting and pushing back.

    Has Katz given Lowe and the organization a little bit of it’s swagger back?

  4. spOILer says:

    “Burkie left Nonis with nothing in Vancouver. That’s his MO, he comes in and destroys teams.”

  5. spOILer says:

    Confirmed Gregor will play it later.

  6. Jonathan says:

    Nice interview, good of Lowe to slam Burke and praise Winter. I always like it when Lowe is candid; his moves always sound much brighter when he defends them, even if I don’t agree with them.

  7. Rod says:

    re: Burke’s MO…

    Mentioned this over on BoA, but check out the Ducks roster beyond this season:
    - 5F (including Bobby Ryan and Ryan Carter)
    - 1D
    - 2G

    - 12 UFA!!!
    - 1 RFA

    Those numbers underscore Lowe’s assertion that Burke destroys teams.

    Are Duck fans actually comfortable with Burke running the show for the final year of his contract?

  8. IceDragoon says:

    spoiler: Best K-Lowe interview of all time on Stauffer’s show.

    lowetide: It was tremendous. Among the hilites:

    Bob teed it up and spurred him on beautifully.

    I particularly liked Lowe’s opinions on Burke’s abilities as a GM. ~ leaving Nonis with nothing in the pipeline (credited Nonis with conning Keenan for Luongo) ~ inheriting the core in Anaheim ~ using unsavoury tactics to sign Niedermayer…

    All in all, some awesome stuff.

    And… It’s going to be archived on Just a Game for the next few days.


    But you know what? Tom Gilbert’s a pretty nice hockey player.

    Yes, he is.
    Think he’s going to take on the toughs more than Staios?

  9. Jonathan says:

    Think he’s going to take on the toughs more than Staios?

    I sure hope so. Staios (who, in fairness, was thrown into shark infested waters with a BB gun- toughest minutes, middling teammates) looked overwhelmed last season and could really use some lighter duties.

  10. Lowetide says:

    Louise: I don’t want to get ahead of myself (lord knows THAT never happens lol) but I think by the end of the season Grebeshkov-Gilbert are going to be the heavy lifting tandem.

    Seriously. It’s set up that way. MacT will probably roll like this:


    with the first pairing mentioned getting broken up for PP and PK time and the third pairing broken up for PK.

    So, first shift afterward is going to be the 2nd pairing. They’re going to get that first shift after the PK and they’re going to get their share of the first shift after the PP.

    Big minutes. And if Grebeshkov can cover the bet, the Oilers need to sign him. Which is why I’m not that upset about Jagr (plus there’s Horcoff too).

  11. spOILer says:

    That’s the way I see the pairings too…

    Little guys with the big guys.

    That’s a really non-physical main EV pair, though, in G+G.

    This year Smid should be getting some PK training.

    Any thoughts about running with 7D and a partial 4th line?

  12. Knamely Lacked says:

    I do wonder what the Scott Niedermayer insight backstory is though?

  13. misfit says:

    Great interview for sure, and it’s about time.

    As for the blueliners, both Souray and Vishnovsky play the right point on the powerplay. That means one of them either moves to the left side where they aren’t as effective, or is bumped off the first unit altogether. Souray wasn’t overly effective for us on the right side last year, and having him on the left likely isn’t going to make things any better for him. So maybe giving Gilbert his powerplay minutes isn’t such a bad idea.

  14. Knamely Lacked says:

    The new Tampa owners aren’t making themselves anymore attractive with players if this is true.

    ““It got to the point where once it probably a few days ago, when I was threatened, that they just didn’t care and that my [butt] is going to end up on waivers and end up in Atlanta. That’s just not the way you do business. I don’t know if I have too much class or what, because I don’t want to say exactly what was said, but when it gets personal like it did, the line was crossed. When my work ethic is questioned, my off-season work ethic and the way I get ready for games and what I do is questioned, and it gets personal, and I’m threatened, that is absolutely the way not to do business.”
    —Erik Erlendsson at Bolts Report

  15. Knamely Lacked says:

    That’s Dan Boyle via the Bolts report. Sorry

  16. Vic Ferrari says:


    Who gives a damn about visnovsky’s preference for side? Really, the concern over this is genuinely odd. Pronger was a LH shot who played the left side with Hemsky driving the PP. Visnovsky will fill that role (probably better), that’s why he’s here, regardless of what he expressed to a Slovakian journalist.

    Would he score more goals if he and Souray flipped sides? Of course, a lot more most likely.

    Would the Oilers score more goals if he and Souray flipped sides? Of course not, a lot less most likely.

    Seriously people, let’s move on from this.

  17. Bruce says:

    Who gives a damn about visnovsky’s preference for side?

    Vic, yet again you and I are in complete agreement. That’s, what, twice this week? Something to build on ….

    The killer fucking powerplay that I am envisioning revolves around Visnovsky on left point shooting occasionally, but handling the puck a lot feeding Sure Shot Sheldon for one-timers from his favoured right side and making the good simple plays down the left boards where Hemsky (hash marks) and Gagner (behind the goal line) will set up shop. Both of those guys are fully capable of making the cross-seam pass to Souray as well. I still like Penner as the guy causing the heavy shade in front; he’s the bigger man, he had better PP numbers than Cole this past year, and he’s the incumbent on a PP that developed some real chemistry in the second half.

    … leaving Cole for the second unit, with Horcoff, Nilsson, G & G. Which ain’t half bad either.

  18. Bruce says:

    This year Smid should be getting some PK training.

    Smid got 156:43 in SH TOI in 2007-08, which ranked him third on the club in gross minutes (using the term advisedly) behind Staios and Gilbert. I hope to the appropriate hockey god that qualifies as his training, cuz I don’t want to have to go through that again. :D

    At 2:24 SH TOI per game Smid also ranked behind the never-present Souray and the now-departed Greene as well as Staios and Gilbert; but ahead of Pitkanen, Grebeshkov and Visnovsky. In other words, fourth among the current Top 6.

    Ladi’s not here for his offence to put it mildly. Any defensive blueliner worth his salt has to be able to kill penalties, and certainly I expect to see Smid continue his OJT this season. With the team having made the choice of Smid over Greene, it’s inconceivable to me he wouldn’t be tabbed for regular PK duty. Especially given that he and Souray are by far the biggest defenders we got.

  19. Dennis says:

    Yeah, we don’t have to waste PK time anymore on Greene so let’s ‘spend’ it on Laddy;)

    I think this is gonna be a very good D corps in 2010 and by that time I hope Souray has been moved, Grebs has been inked and we’re going with Lubo-77-37-24-5 and Chorney-Hrabal-Peckam as the 7th candidates.

    One of the things you can see is that when/if this team gets close and can start to look at deadline acquistions, they’ve got a tonne of young D to dangle; much like the Avs did years ago when they had Ballard and Gilbert going out the door.

  20. Vic Ferrari says:

    Pass the pipe, Lain.

    Grebeshkov playing tough minutes, ever? … damn.

    And Gilbert has every chance of being the next Staios, who knows, maybe even better. But he’s a least a couple of years away from that level imo. His shooting percentages are about double Jagr’s from last year, no? Wanna bet on that repeating?

    Remember that before you write a thousand words on how coaching/chemistry/gel-factor/Jesus … or whatever is responisble for the decline in Brad’s production next season ;)

  21. Lowetide says:

    Vic: Are there better candidates on the roster iyo?

  22. Bruce says:

    Vic: You’re right, Gilbert led the loop in Sh% by defenceman by a healthy margin (13.3%; 2. A.Markov 11.0%), and that isn’t likely to be repeated. That said, he sure did pick his spots when to shoot, and it seemed like a bunch of his goals came when he jumped into the play late and sifted a 25-foot wrist shot just inside the post against a scrambling goalie. Happened often enough to not appear to be flukey.

    That said, even if he shoots a little more I would anticipate a drop-off in his goals this season, but with a commensurate rise in assists. 10-25-35 is as good a guess as any, assuming he gets mop-up duty on the PP.

    Hey it’s July, not only are the glasses rose-coloured, they have Scotch in them.

  23. IceDragoon says:

    Are there better candidates on the roster iyo?

    I’m not Vic, but I can say… no.
    We need a D… a big LDD. imho

    Huddy was already giving Gilbert and Grebeshkov some reps against the big boys, and I’m sure he’ll continue their lessons. But, he needs to have two guys he can count on to shut down when the pressure is on.

    Staios & ???

  24. namflashback says:

    Gilbert’s shots were almost always with him below the tops of the circles in the higher percentage “funnel.” He wasn’t taking shots from the point or top of the umbrella.

    High shooting percentage? High percentage shooting locations.

    It was the “Bo Mironov” sneaking in from the point play.

    Gilbert and Greb got their early reps against QUALCOMP in November when Grebeshkov was being called Garbagekov.

    They got more helpings of QUALCOMP late season with Pitkanen coming in and out of the lineup.

    Gilbert has seen Iginla more in his short number of GP than maybe even Jeff Finger or was that Kurt Sauer. Sorry — can’t seem to tell those two apart.

  25. IceDragoon says:

    Thanx, nam.

    Gilbert’s going to be a beauty sooner than later, I think.

    The right side doesn’t bother me much. I imagine they’ll draw fairly even at evens and QUALCOMP by year’s end. Staios will be on ice for most D zone face offs, tho.

    It’s the left side that scares me.
    Which one of those guys gets the last shift defending a one goal lead against Iginla?

  26. jon k says:

    Things are just a bit odd all over the place in this comment thread.

    -Ritch Winter is not a nice guy, Kevin Lowe is just playing nice. Genuinely? Winter is a greasy agent who is very, very good at his job. When he comes in to do guest lectures at the U of A sometimes this is the overwhelming perception that people have of him.

    -It matters where Visnovsky plays because he’s said he doesn’t like playing out of position and historically defensemen who are 31 years old are going to struggle when playing out of position.

    -Gilbert and Staios are players at completely different ends of the spectrum. One is a heady finesse defenseman who uses his intelligence to defend, while the other is a physical defender who sticks to what he’s learned through experience and reacts as the play unfolds. It makes zero sense to compare their level of play at this point since they inhabit different niches in the lineup.

    -Gilbert’s PP rates and stats could likely be pumped if he ever played on the first unit. That being said, I don’t see him ever reproducing his SH% from last season, even though he does tend to sneak in for accurate wrist shots from further in.

    -I’m glad Lowe said the things he said because by and large I think he’s right. Burke inherited a good situation in Anaheim and left a bad one in Vancouver. It looks very much like he’ll do the same once he’s done in Anaheim.

  27. Dennis says:

    I still see Gilbert as a good bet to score 10 because the guy just has a sense of how and when to jump into the play. Plus, he’s got a bit of snipe to him, too. He’s not scoring goals that carom off two different defenders; he can pick his spots.

    Not sure how Huddy’s gonna run his bench for matchups but if Grebs starts 09 like he finished ’08, there’s no reason to believe he won’t get a big role at evens. 44′s get get get shit-hauled on both the PP and SH so it’s not like we’re gonna be able to ride him at evens as well.

    24-44-5-77 should see the bulk of SH time and 44-Lubo-77 should see the bulk on the PP. So, it stands to reason that just by the process of not wearing people out, 37 is gonna be counted on at evens.

    5-44 should be the most sheltered at evens and if you wanna call EV + SH “defender mintures”, I’ll say 24-77 finish 1-2.

  28. IceDragoon says:

    jon k:
    Staios is a lot smarter than you seem to think. If he had the luxury of a D partner who he could rely on to do his own job capably, I think you’d see just how good he is. Trouble is, he’s been the guy Huddy has used to mitigate the deficiencies in his young partners.

    He can also play LD if it comes to that.

    Dennis: 5-44 should be the most sheltered at evens

    That’s the thing, Dennis. There isn’t enough shelter on the left side for both Souray and Smid.

    Perhaps, if KLo doesn’t bring in a solid LDD & if 44 doesn’t go east in answer to many prayers, we see something like this at evens:

    24 – 77
    37 – Visnovsky
    5 – 44

    Tho, I think Huddy may change up pairings to suit different opponents.

  29. IceDragoon says:

    Oops… got ahead of myself.

    My fear is…

    They think 44-24 is a shut down tandem.

  30. Master Lok says:

    Long way aways from the days of Garbagekov… oh… less than a year actually.

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