For those who believe you can’t be young, unique, have personality and a lust for life while playing hockey for the Edmonton Oilers, allow me to present Mr. Tom Gilbert. Much like a rock star, there seems to be a gap between what he “is” and what he “represents.” What he “is” at this point is an outstanding hockey player: Tom Gilbert might be the best defenseman on a club teeming with them.
The only question left is something called “established level of ability.” What does that mean? Well, in pure terms, we know what Albert Pujols is going to produce season over season: 40 homers, 125 rbi’s and something called “ops” that is over 1.00 (is that on-base plus slugging? why would they do that? is this a useful stat? please explain!) and 162 times a season he causes the opposition starter to have a bead of sweat run from the back of his neck all the way down the crack of his ass. That’s established level of ability: Albert Pujols is a walking barf bag for pitchers, the human ‘dead man walking’ for starters and the man who ends careers before they’ve started.
It takes some time, and Gilbert isn’t there yet. He’s not Albert Pujols, but Jesus H. he’s trending nicely as an NHL player.
- Boxcars: 82gp, 5-40-45 26pims
- Shots: 107
- Plus Minus: +6
- Corsi: -3.5 (4th of 4 among the good ones)
- 5×5/60: 1.30 (best on team)
- 5×4/60: 3.91 (best on team)
- GF/GA ON: 65-60 (3 of 4)
- Quality of competition: 2nd toughest among D
- Quality of pairing: best available
- 09-10 cap hit: 4.0M (capgeek)
- What do these numbers tell us? On a team with Visnovsky, Souray and Grebeshkov, he had the best season. He has size, speed, passing skills and can carry the puck very well, he’s quality on the PP (2-14-16) and at EVs (2-26-28). Gilbert has a wide range of skills and the areas where he’s weak (strong on the puck, reading plays quickly) are the domain of young defenders and he’ll get better. If Tom Gilbert were a poker hand I’d go all in.
- How could these numbers be better? He could have a touch of Behn Wilson in him (Behn Wilson was a half-bubble off plumb and it gave him an edge in every battle. youtube Behn Wilson). Other than that he’s quality. You want to see this over a period of years for established levels of ability but this was a first-rate season.
- What about injury? 82 games two years in a row I’d say we’re good to go.
- What about a trade? Seriously? 4M a year for a guy who moves the puck like this guy and he has an idea about playing defense. Fine, go ahead trade the guy and then watch him romp for a decade. I have no idea what kind of glue (Elmer’s?) the Avs were sniffing when they sent him here for Tommy gun but he’s signed through the summer of 2014 and would have to be considered one of the most valuable assets on the team.
- Will Quinn play him against tough opposition? Of course he will. Gilbert isn’t famous (yet) but he’s capable and doesn’t take stupid penalites. He has coverage lapses but when you fly as many sorties as any NHL top4 blue does in a season there are moments when you look exposed. He’s good.
- How will Quinn play him? I think his PP time may suffer. He certainly deserves time with the man advantage based on results but a new coach sometimes goes with the guy who has a longer track record.
- How important is Gilbert to this team? He’s the link between the Hemsky group and the Cogliano/Gagner bunch. Gilbert is a major player on this team, it’s obvious in all kinds of ways including a major contract with many years on it.
Predictions past 2008-09
- Predicted: 82gp, 7-15-22 (.268 per game)
- Actual: 82gp, 5-40-45 (.549 per game)
Prediction for 2009-10: 82gp, 9-31-40 (.488 per game)