Among signed forwards for 2020-21, Joe Gambardella isn’t famous. He has played in the NHL, showing his forechecking ability and some semblance of offensive ability. He got some NHL time in 2018-19 but none this past season under new coaching and management. This season, his final one under contract with Edmonton, is a big one for Gambardella’s future. He has some things to recommend him.
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2019-20 AHL stats: 50, 14-14-28, 13-11-24 evens; EV GF-GA 30-48
1 Boy you never give up do you? I like Gambardella as a player but this was a tough season for him. I knew his shooting percentage would come down but the even strength goal differential plus the offense cut in half is a bitter pill.
2 How much did his shooting percentage fall? He scored 29 goals on 97 shots in 2018-19, that’s 29.9 percent (led the AHL) and not sustainable. In 2019-20, Gambardella scored 14 goals on 93 shots, that’s a 15.1 shooting percentage.
3 Still good, no? Sure, and his AHL shooting percentage for his career is 21.1 so he’s above average as a shooter at this level. Yakov Trenin led the AHL in 2019-20 with a 28.2 shooting percentage.
4 Do you still see him as an NHL option? It’ll be tough now, beyond injury recall. Extremely unlikely he makes the opening night roster.
5 Who does he have to catch? The depth chart on LW has seen several players pass him. At this point the NHL LW depth chart is Nuge, AA, James Neal, Tyler Benson, Joakim Nygard, Gambardella, Kuffner, Safin. Plus Jujhar Khaira if he plays the wing.
5 What does he have to recommend him? Great forechecker, has had brilliant outscoring seasons in both college and AHL, he is a small m chance machine and has a good idea about the defensive side of the game.
6 And yet you’re not convinced he’ll play in Edmonton 2020-21? The strongest indicator a coach can give is playing time. Gambardella played one game (11 five on five minutes) in the 2019-20 pre-season. Patrick Russell received six games and 67 total minutes, he won a job with a new coach. That was Gambardella’s opening.
7 Maybe they just wanted a right wing? That’s true, they also spent a lot of time with Tyler Benson and wanted to look at Anton Burdasov.
8 Who? Anton Burdasov. Holland signed him to a professional tryout contract, he played two games, 25 minutes total, had an assist, five shots. Intriguing player, just didn’t have enough time to show his stuff.
9 I think you’re making this up. No, he played for Edmonton, but let’s move on.
10 How many of these training camp hopeful dealies will you do? More this year cause of the Covid.
11 How many training camp hopefuls have you done in the past? Eight in 2016. Dillon Simpson (I predicted four games, he played three), Anton Slepyshev (I predicted one game, he played 41), Joey Laleggia (four games predicted, he played none), Jere Sallinen (two, none), Taylor Beck (10, 5), Tyler Pitlick (10, 31), David Musil (10, 0) and Drake Caggiula (25, 60).
12 You suck. Oilers would have been better off taking one of those RW’s and sending Puljuarvi to Bakersfield.
13 Maybe he’ll get into the playoff games upcoming. Doesn’t look like it, Jim Matheson has what looks like the list here and Gambardella isn’t on it.
14 Well, it’s a tough list to make, lots of forwards under contract aren’t on it. Forwards not on that list who are under contract for 2019-20 are Gambardella, Kuffner, Nolan Vesey, Kirill Maksimov, Ostap Safin, Cam Hebig, Tomas Jurco, Brad Malone, Josh Currie.
15 He’s probably next man up! Not sure that’s true. Jurco and Currie would be in the mix. I think the absence of Gambardella is a tell.
16 Are you looking forward to the hockey? I’m concerned about the health of the players. I’m uncertain they can be completely protected. I selfishly want to see hockey. I am a conflicted hockey human.
Gambarella Projected 2020-21 AHL stats: 54 games, 19-20-39 .72 points per game
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
It’s Monday and there is much to discuss, beginning at 10 on TSN1260. We’ll talk NHL RTP and CBA, plus Derek Taylor (Roughriders play by play) will talk the CFL pulse and Jason Gregor from TSN1260 will chat about the Oilers and the NHL. A busy one, your comments welcome at 10-1260 or @Lowetide on twitter!