RE 10-11: Tom Gilbert

I’m a fan of Tom Gilbert. He’s a quality NHL player, and even better Gilbert has all of the frustrating development years behind him. Gone are the college days, and gone too are the “adjusting to the speed of the NHL game” and we are left with a very good hockey player.

Skilled? Yes. Healthy? Yes. Wide range of skills? God bless him. I don’t know what most people look for in a defenseman, but for me Tom Gilbert is a really good example of a productive player.

His contract? $4 million dollars times 4 years and that is a good contract. Does Gilbert have a downside? Well, some say he isn’t a hitter but then again a good finesse defender who can stay healthy and help the team in all three zones is going to get a little leeway in the big hits department. The Oilers have enough guys who get injured, they don’t need Gilbert playing outside his comfort zone.

•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
•Cap Hit: $4,000,000

  1. What do these numbers tell us? He’s the best defenseman on the team and I suspect he’d be about the third best actual player on the current Oilers when we account for injuries and such. This was his most difficult season–the new coach asked him to perform in a role for which he was not ideally suited–and Gilbert was a man the entire time. 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.
  2. How Could these numbers be better? I don’t think Quinn had much of a choice. When the other guy is firing live bullets the smart coach puts his best players out there against the snipers. Having said that, as an organization the Oilers hurt themselves for much of the season by having Gilbert stifle his offense.
  3. Anything else? 82 games a season, regular as clockwork. And, if you’re looking for a leader from the younger group, Gilbert is a solid candidate.
  4. What are his strengths? 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. He doesn’t hit anyone. He’s very ineffective in the physical aspects of the game and it hurts the Oilers. No one fears us. No one fears the Oilers because they’re no damn good. Tom Gilbert can play his position.
  6. You can’t play defense unless you can break bones. Hold on, I’ll call Nicklas Lidstrom and tell him the news.
  7. 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.
  8. How will Renney use him next season? Whitney-Gilbert on the top pairing and then Gilbert on the 1PP. That’s my guess, although there were plenty of posts at ON suggesting Kurtis Foster would land on the 1PP because of his shot. I just feel Gilbert is the smarter man, the faster thinker, and we’ve seen a lot of rubber blocked from the blue over the years. I think Gilbert gets the shot through better, is excellent at sneaking in down low and he has a creative brain. We’ll see, maybe Foster was a big reason for all those PP goals in Tampa Bay. As for EV minutes, Renney should keep Gilbert and Whitney together. Their instant chemistry and effective play was one of the few bright spots in the season from hell.
  9. 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)

Prediction for 2010-11: 80gp, 9-33-42
A quality NHL defenseman

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