Stan Gilbertson had been hanging around pro hockey forever (Oakland could have had him for nothing in 1967, I think they technically had a right to claim him as a San Fransisco Seal before Boston reclaimed their players) and caught on with the Seals when Tommy Williams got hurt for the 100th time. That was 1971.
Playing on a line with a dangerously slow Wayne Carleton and bullet-fast Bobby Sheehan, Gilbertson was apparently just fast enough for Sheehan and just slow enough for Carleton. His up and down, traditional style of LW suited both just right and he landed a career at age 27. He scored 16 goals as a rookie, and hung around for six NHL seasons.
The Athletic Edmonton features a fabulous cluster of stories (some linked below, some on the site). Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. Proud to be part of The Athletic, check it out here.
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Projecting the Oilers’ black aces and how much they’ll play
- New Jonathan Willis: Projecting the Oilers’ lineup for their play-in series versus the Blackhawks
- New Lowetide: Could the Oilers draft a defenceman in the first round?
- Lowetide: Why the Oilers should extend Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as soon as possible
- Lowetide: Oilers farmhand Josh Currie’s small window of opportunity
- Lowetide: Oilers coach Dave Tippett’s track record in developing young players
- Jonathan Willis: Misguided priorities helped turn the Oilers’ 2010 rebuild into a debacle
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘It’s what’s best for the league’: Oilers accept challenge of play-in series
- Lowetide: Oilers greatest areas of need for the 2020 draft
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Six bold (and not so bold) predictions as the Oilers prepare for the Blackhawks
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers facing a bonus penalty for 2020-21 but the news isn’t all bad
- Jonathan Willis: Multiple choice: What might an Oilers trade at the 2020 NHL Draft look like?
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers return to play guide: How the NHL’s 24-team format impacts Edmonton
- Lowetide: Mike Green’s playoff role and possible future with the Oilers
- Lowetide: Oilers’ most likely recalls from Bakersfield for the playoff run
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘We rallied and regrouped’: How the Oilers won the 1990 Stanley Cup
- Lowetide: Why Kailer Yamamoto represents ‘Money Puck’ value for NHL teams
- Lowetide: Exploring hidden-gem draft options for the Edmonton Oilers
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘He set his place in history’: On Bill Ranford’s Conn Smythe run, 30 years later
- Jonathan Willis: Why NHL teams should gamble on defencemen over forwards later in the draft
- Lowetide: Oilers GM Ken Holland should shop for picks at the draft
JOE GAMBARDELLA AS A MODERN STAN GILBERTSON
In the two seasons before Gilbertson won an NHL job, he scored 55 goals in 132 regular season games (.417 goals-per-game). In Gambardella’s most recent AHL seasons, he has scored 43 goals in 100 games (.430 goals per game).
Gambardella has good two-way ability, he was part of a fantastic forechecking line in college and his time in the AHL saw impressive even strength results in his first two seasons:
- 2017-18: 27-28 ES GF-GA (No. 2 among regular forwards)
- 2018-19: 47-30 ES GF-GA (No. 4 among regular forwards)
- 2019-20: 30-48 ES GA-GA (last among regular forwards)
I’ve been tracking Gambardella since he signed, this was a tough season for him. He’s signed for another year and I would estimate that signed LW’s ahead of him are Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Andreas Athanasiou, James Neal, Jujhar Khaira, Joakim Nygard, Tyler Benson. Not all of those players are exclusively left wingers and several are pushing to establish themselves along with Gambardella. A big season ahead.
ASKED AND ANSWERED
The following appeared on June 14, 2010. It was a call and response discussion of the 2010 draft in the days before.
Will the Oilers trade the #1 pick? No. They “might” make a side deal with the Bruins to stay away from Hall and select Seguin #1 but even that seems a stretch. Either way, the Oilers have a chance to pick #1 overall for the first time in their history and it is a major, historic and symbolic event. Kind of like the moon landing, that sort of thing. In the words of 20th century poet John Lydon: “getting rid of the albatross; I know you very well, you are unbearable.”
Who will they choose? Taylor Hall. These two are equal talents and the things that make Hall more attractive (track record of winning big games, championship resume, fame) are all things the Oilers can wrap themselves around in the darkest period of their NHL history. These are the Edmonton Oilers, not the Mobro 4000. The long haul doesn’t mean avoiding the NHL ready player, and the choice is so close that Hall gets the nod based on intangibles.
Intangibles? I thought you didn’t believe in that stuff? I don’t. However, when all things are equal and you have to decide between two talents, flipping a coin seems a little vague.
What else will happen on day one? The Oilers will trade into the first round (middle) and choose a defenseman. My guess is that the early 2nd rd pick and perhaps a selection from next year or an Andrew Cogliano will also be included, but they’re going to address the future blue at the draft. They have no choice.
What about day 2? The Nashville (Grebs) pick starts day 2 (if the Oilers trade up in rd 1) and one expects the Oilers will draft a forward with offensive skills. Maybe another Lander if available, but they could use more skill and this draft is deep.
Then what? Then it gets fun: The Oilers do unusual work in the third-fifth rounds. This is the place Edmonton drafts Coke Machines and obscure Euro’s; its kind of like being a Doors fan and listening to the Soft Parade for the first time. We could see a goalie or a coke machine or a Croatian. There’s no real way to predict the Edmonton Oilers outside the top 50 overall.
Which player on the Oilers list is most likely to be traded at the draft? Riley Nash. Moreau, Nilsson and O’Sullivan can be bought out, and the Oilers management group has mentioned it is an option. Why pay anything for struggling role players when you can wait until they’re bought out and are a bargain? Souray won’t be traded until after July 1.
RILEY NASH? HA-HA! He has no value! On the contrary, he’s going to be a bargain. The Oilers are either frustrated by his career path or his progress (or both) and because we know it other NHL teams know it. If I’m Boston, he’s a guy I trade for because the price is low at this time. Plus he’s closer to being NHL ready than most of the kids in this draft and might sign right away with another team.
You’re just making stuff up now. No. I’m not. Smart organizations never betray anything about their prospects but fans know the Oilers have soured on Nash without ever leaving our basements to buy Cheesies. Sam Pollock’s teams never did that kind of thing.
Will the Oilers do well at the draft? I think they will. Chances are we’ll know 4 or more of the Oilers picks by name as they are called. May not sound like a big deal, but in the last decade Oilers fans were sent running to their search engines for info on Mikhnov, Niinimaki and some other high picks.
NHL GAMES AFTER FIVE YEARS (2015 SUMMER)
The numbers and what I wrote about each man several years after the draft.
Taylor Hall 299, 118-157-275 [.920 points-per-game]. Splendid since his plane touched down at the International, Hall remains the human chance machine. The lack of playoff success in his Oilers career has many turning on him, which is a damned shame. Absolute winner, remain thrilled he is an Oilers player. All kinds of rumors—real or imagined—about his status, but the idea of Hall on one line and McDavid on the other is the best music imaginable. Hope he stays.
Martin Marincin 85, 1-10-11 [.129]. Chiarelli will have an opinion on him, but we already know MacT’s decision and his usually remain final. MM is in a tough spot as an Oiler, because the spot he’ll occupy on the team next season is easily duplicated.
Tyler Pitlick 27, 3-0-3 [.111]. Scored well in his one season junior (22 EV goals) but he didn’t resemble anything close to a top 9F in the AHL before season three. Part of that had to do with injuries, and he does look like he can play a crash and bang style when he’s in the NHL, but the offense is really a concern. I think the general view on Pitlick from the organization was positive under MacTavish, no idea where we go from here.
Brandon Davidson 12, 1-0-1 [.083]. The thing about Davidson is he does so many things that are useful. He skates well, he has decent size, he can pass the puck or skate it out of danger. He could be a real help.
Curtis Hamilton 1, 0-0-0. There was a considerable injury history for Hamilton before the draft and those issues have had considerable impact on his pro career.
Tyler Bunz 1, 0-0-0. Post SP’s of .919 and .921 in his final junior seasons but couldn’t crack .900 during most of his time in the organization. Got into one NHL game.
NHL GAMES YEAR SIX THROUGH 10 (2020)
Taylor Hall 328, 100-188-288 [.878 points-per-game]. He was dealt after six seasons, the last four have seen ups (Hart Trophy 2018) and downs (just five playoff games in his career, missed over 70 games). Free agent this summer, it would be a pretty cool reunion tour.
Tyler Pitlick 221, 38-32-70 [.317]. Finally! He has been in the lineup more often in later years and has found enough offense to avoid the pressbox if not injury. Averaging over 60 games a season now, he should get to 500 NHL games (he has time).
Brandon Davidson 147, 8-14-22 [.150]. There was a time when he looked lke he could not only survive in the NHL—that’s a big one, folks—but also potentially play a major role. Injuries have robbed him of that opportunity. He’s outperformed his draft number.
Martin Marincin 142, 4-19-21 [.148]. Unlike Pitlick and Davidson, Marincin has been healthy while also unable to establish himself as an NHL regular.
Taylor Hall emerged as a difference maker early and has been pushing the river for years. In his first five seasons, he averaged 60 games, 24-31-55, quality numbers with about 20 games a season lost to injuries or lockout. In the second five years, he averaged 66 games, 20-38-58. Grade: A.
Brandon Davidson is the other clear success story from this draft, in spite of injury. When he was healthy, before the Tkachuk-Byfuglien shenanigans, Davidson’s underlying possession numbers were truly impressive. He spent 2.5 seasons as a regular, his draft grade accounts for his being chosen in the sixth round. First five seasons average: 2, 0-0-0. Second five seasons: 29, 1-3-4. Grade: B.
Tyler Pitlick took forever to find a way to stay healthy and did not emerge as a scorer. He has posted a career that will cover his draft bet should he continue to play at current levels for three of four more years. In his first five pro seasons, he averaged 5, 0-1-1 as injuries and AHL mediocrity delayed progress. In his second five season segment, Pitlick ran 44, 8-6-14. In his three most recent seasons, it’s 63, 10-10-20. Grade: C.
Martin Marincin spent most of the decade as a fringe NHL player, and is now over 200 career games. In only one season could he have been considered an NHL regular, so success was out of reach despite NHL appearances. In his first five years: 17, 0-2-2 average. Second five: 28, 1-3-4. Grade: D.
I was impressed with the 2010 draft weekend, but the injury assault on Pitlick and Davidson had an impact, and Marincin has never been able to establish himself as a top-six option over a prolonged period. Three men have played over 200 NHL games, with another approaching that number. Considering the Oilers had the No. 1 overall selection, and four picks inside the top 50, we cannot consider the 2010 draft a resounding success 10 years after. Grade: C.