There are whispers afoot regarding the Edmonton Oilers and defenseman Tom Gilbert. I regard this as a rumor most foul, considering it would be an extreme example of selling low. Tom Gilbert is not having a good season, in fact this is the worst season (by my eye) of his NHL career. Why then would I consider this a bad time to deal off a defenseman with a very healthy cap hit?
Tom Gilbert’s resume includes some very good play over a long stretch of games. He’s not 40 and he’s also not injury prone, plus Gilbert’s offensive ability (not in use this season) will still be on the blue when Lubo or Souray are gone this summer.
Gilbert belongs to a small group of current Oilers who have two major items in common:
- They’re not covering their cap bet this season
- There is no known physical reason (chronic injury, age) for a downturn in performance
The family includes Gilbert, O’Sullivan and Denis Grebeshkov. Steve Tambellini is in real danger with these players, who are likely to return to previous performance levels. I didn’t include Horcoff (age, injury–he may never be the same player as the 2006 Horcoff) or Cogliano (there is some evidence that he was drowning in a pool of good fortune in his first two NHL seasons) and the others are either not established, performed at an acceptable level, or hopeless.
I think the Oilers do have to make decisions (Souray V. Lubo and Cogliano V. Nilsson) on players this summer, but I’d be quite happy to see Tom Gilbert and Denis Grebeshkov return. They’ve lost confidence, they’re clearly playing in some bad luck and I’m sure the coaching change and roles they play this year have also had an impact.
Either way, I think dealing Tom Gilbert is folly unless you’re getting over 100 cents on the dollar, which considering his 09-10 season would be a neat trick. I’d suggest that result exceeds the grasp of Steve Tambellini.