Tom Gilbert: Soul Survivor

My daughter has discovered the Rolling Stones. She found some old photos of Mick and Keith and has decided they’re cute (I’m going to build a moat and hire a giant) and now I hear the kid strumming some old time classics from 40 years ago. It’s all fun and I’ve decided to let her find out for herself that the key to the band is the drummer (I didn’t discover it until one beer-induced listening to Gimme Shelter many years ago). I think Pat Quinn figured out Tom Gilbert=Charlie Watts late in the season and from that point on everything flowed on the top pairing. Maybe it was the cowbell.

  • Boxcars: 82gp, 5-26-31
  • Shots: 98
  • Plus Minus: -10
  • Corsi (Rel): 8.1 (2nd best among D)
  • GF/GA ON: 55-62
  • 5×5/60: 0.92 (best among D’s)
  • 5×4/60: 2.24 (3rd best among D’s)
  • Quality of Competition: toughest among D’s
  • Quality of Teammates: 5th best among D’s
  • Offensive Zone Start FO %: 49.6% (2nd easiest among D’s)
  • Cap Hit: $4,000,000
  1. What do these numbers tell us? He’s the best defenseman on the team. Gilbert played a more comfortable role after the trade deadline and went 21gp, 3-17-20 in March and April and his final 7 games saw him deliver 2-10-12 totals. Before that, it was a matter of Pat Quinn trying to turn him into Ed Kea. Gilbert had the best season overall a year ago too, when the competition included Visnovsky, a healtier Souray and Grebeshkov.
  2. How could these numbers be better? Quinn could have recognized his finesse defender’s strengths earlier, but he didn’t. The Oilers could have set their roster with fewer puck movers and more complete defensemen. In regard to Gilbert, he played well and made every attempt to adjust to the role asked of him by management. This one is on OTC.
  3. Any other positives? Tom Gilbert plays 82 games a season.
  4. What is his most important asset? He’s an actual NHL player. Gilbert can play the game, is a solid positonal defenseman and when playing with confidence is among the best we’ve seen in Oilers silks at sneaking down from the blueline for a goalmouth scoring opportunity.
  5. Isn’t this just a matter of him outlasting Grebeshkov and being less expensive than Visnovsky and Souray? Gilbert was always more consistent than Grebeshkov and younger (and healthier) than the other two veteran defensemen. The Oilers made the right call here, although losing Viz was a bad, bad day.
  6. How will OTC use him next season? I’m not certain Pat Quinn will be the coach in 10-11, but if he is the Gilbert-Whitney tandem has to be the top pairing from game 1. Their instant chemistry and effective play was one of the few bright spots in the season from hell.
  7. How important is Gilbert to the team? He’s very important. A team leader at a fairly young age, he’s signed for years and has an outside chance of wearing an “A” or a “C” on a regular basis if things continue on their current path.
By the Numbers
  • 08-09 5×5 per 60m: 1.30
  • 09-10 5×5 per 60m: 0.92
By The Numbers
  • 08-09 5×4 per 60m: 3.91
  • 09-10 5×4 per 60m: 2.24

Predictions past 2009-10: 82gp, 9-31-40 (.488)
Performance in  2009-10: 82gp, 5-26-31 (.378)

Projected Role in 2009-10: Top pairing D on the Edmonton Oilers

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