Making Betts

This is Dickey Betts. If I could play guitar like him that’s all I’d do. Seriously. Betts joined the Allman Brothers Band as 2nd guitarist (Duane was even better, crazy as it sounds) in the late 1960′s and the sound those two guitars made was as sweet as anything I’ve heard in my lifetime.


About the prettiest song on earth is “Jessica” which was written by Betts for his daughter. He also wrote “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” and the one song everyone remembers from the Allmans, “Ramblin Man.”

Those southern boys sure can play the rock and roll.

Sometimes when you’re cruising the Al Gore the damndest things pop up. One such item appeared on my screen today and honestly left me in shock.

It is here. I don’t know a lot about Damien Cox save for the fact that he shows up on tsn a lot and seems to have a strong readership in the big Smoke. Other than that, I couldn’t tell you much, which speaks to my ignorance.

The line in question (“best offer the Oilers got for Gilbert at the deadline? A 7th round pick for Gilbert AND a 2nd”) is either made up or a reflection 30 addled brains in charge of NHL teams (Tambellini for talking to them and the other 29 for offering). Either way, that tweet (and the addition of “that’s the price of bad contracts”) is outside what we might call “reasonable.”

In examining the issue, Tom Gilbert entered the 2009-10 season playing at a high level. I mentioned two things of note in the “reasonable expectations” post before the season began:

  • Tom Gilbert might be the best defenseman on a club teeming with them. The only question left is something called “established level of ability.”
  • 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 defensemen and he’ll get better.

He went 82gp, 5-40-45 +6 facing the 2nd toughest opponents last season; it is true he had the best pairing available but I think we can agree that the Oilers were paid in full.

This season was a train wreck for the entire team. Injuries, rookie goalies, forwards who looked at times like they were in open auditions for Monty Python’s “Race for People with no Sense of Direction.” Still, Gilbert’s level of play isn’t awful (when considering the circumstances).

Gilbert has been facing the toughest opposition (along with the oft-injured Souray this season) and doing it with the worst available pairing among the regulars (those who played 35 games or more). He did start in the Ozone a little more often (51%) but all things considered it looks to me as though he was in the deep end of the pool most of the time.

The Oilers are about -50 at EVs this season, meaning that (all things being equal) an average Oilers defenseman (playing average opponents with average help) should slide in at -17 (50 divided by the three pairings) for 82 games. This works out to -.207 per game.

Gilbert’s offense is back on track as of late, saving his season a little (75gp, 3-16-19) but remains a far cry from his first two full NHL seasons. His plus minus (-11 in 75 games) is -.147 per game, and the expectation for his GP would be about -16 for this Oilers team. He’s a pretty good bet, even in a tough year spent trying to figure out a new coaching staff and his new role on their team.

We can look further in depth after the season, but a quick glance suggests that Tom Gilbert–age 27–has delivered above average performance even in a season of turmoil. While his offensive numbers aren’t at his previous levels, the powerplay has been a constant shuffle and one would guess Gilbert could help on a more organized offensive team.

If those NHL general managers really did make that ridiculous offer for Tom Gilbert there’s not much that can be said in their defense. The main currency of the trade deadline is useful defensemen. Tom Gilbert is certainly such a player, $4M cap hit and all.

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