In response to a topic on the forum, I figured I’d write up a long repost that is both a defense of Tom Gilbert, as well as support of Nick Schultz. I personally think the trade is a bit of a wash. But this is a 10-game in review of Tom Gilbert and Nick Schultz with their respective teams… mostly by the numbers.
So first off a disclaimer: I’m not a big “stats guy”. So I definitely take any numbers with a grain of salt, but I do use them from time to time.. this will be one of those times. Oh, also… while their is some “fact” in the form of statistics in here, like any of my posts there is a lot of opinion.
Anyways, Gilbert’s offensive numbers in Minnesota have been.. well, offensive. But I think his other numbers have been good. They are working this horse pretty hard there too. At least as much as we did here, at his most used times.
He’s averaged 24:39 per game in Minny (with even 31.5 minutes in one game!). Part of that, he’s gotten decent PP time, for sure, and should be making better use of that. However, he’s also eaten up a lot of PK time too (he even had as much as 6 minutes in one game). He’s averaged 2 minutes and 4 seconds per game on the PK (although it looks like he’s either put in a lot of PK minutes a game, or hardly any if any).
Of the 36 goals the Wild have allowed since acquiring Gilbert, he’s been on the ice for 11 of them, including 1 empty netter. That’s a little over 30% of the goals against, playing in a little over 40% of the minutes there… presumably against the toughs. So really, those defensive numbers are actually quite good, in my opinion.
As far as Nick Schultz, his overall numbers (outside of the points) have been decent, but they don’t really jump off the page as much as Gilbert’s TOI numbers. Schultz has averaged 18:12 per game here (30% of the total possible ice time), and he’s only been on the ice for 2 goals against so far (7% of the team goals against), which I think is worth noting. The sample set is small, however, but that’s definitely a big positive. He’s generated a bit more offense than Gilbert has managed to scrape up in Minnesota. Gilbert has 2 assists, while Schultz has earned 4, with next to no powerplay time. This actually mistifies me, but Nick Schultz hasn’t taken a single powerplay shift here yet. He got 9 seconds on the powerplay in the last game, but that was obviously part of a shift change at the end of a powerplay. So, on that note, he’s at least helping to generate some even strength points, although 4 assists isn’t anything to get all excited about. Schultz has averaged about 1 minute and 20 seconds per game on the powerplay. So, save for a couple of games, Schultz has been utilized almost 100% at even strength. He’s also faced a lesser quality of competition (notable, with lesser quality of teammates) than Tom Gilbert has, which is an important note.
Here are my thoughts on this trade, early on:
- We traded a risky top-minute defenseman, for a know-what-you-get, consistent, 2nd/3rd pairing defenseman. Schultz can play over 20 minutes in a game, but he likely won’t do it as often as Gilbert will, and he won’t be running your show on the back end either. We traded high risky, high potential for level reliability.
- We did not get 100 cents on the dollar, because we traded Gilbert at what might have been the peak of his career as a complete defenseman for a guy who we haven’t exactly broken in very much. We sold high, which is good, but I don’t think we bought at the low point of Schultz’s career (well, by that, I mean, he likely isn’t going to blow our minds suddenly and do anything unexpected).
- Both bring a similar approach to hockey, seeming to have a bit more bias towards “positional” defensive play over the physical defensive play, but I think I’d have to give Schultz the edge here, as he seems to pick his hits better. That might just be my critical opinion of Gilbert in this area biasing me a bit though.
- I think Tom Gilbert is a top-notch puck mover. I would say he has the edge on Schultz here, but Schultz seems to be a smart, capable player, so I think he isn’t likely going to be a “rim it around the boards” guy either.
- I think we decided that Jeff Petry and Ladislav Smid will be our top pairing. And that made Tom Gilbert more expendable. Note: that doesn’t necessarily mean we couldn’t have made a better trade.
- Tom Gilbert took on new roles, since he came into the league. He went from that puck moving #1 PP quarterback to a guy that had to do it all. I think he handled that role quite well this year. The 2 years previous to it though? Well, I think they ranged from average to atrocious. As a guy who really liked Gilbert in the first two years here, I found him tough to watch in the next two years. I was happy to see him bring it all together this year.
- Minnesotans were upset that Schultz was traded – both the players and the fans. Tom Gilbert was well liked here by the players too, but I think Schultz will fit right in and by the sounds of things may even stand-out as a leader.
- I think we’re a better team with Nick Schultz in our 2nd/3rd pairing, and Jeff Petry and Ladislav Smid as our top pairing.
- It is always tough when you lose a guy like Gilbert who had obvious strengths, but I think the plus is that we evened things out… lost some flash at the benefit of gaining some stability.
I’d suggest that there was no loser in this trade. I think both teams benefit. I’m hoping that we’ll see more ice time given to Schultz though, as he’s really not picking up what we lost in Gilbert. But it could be that the Oilers feel that they (finally) have a real top pairing, and a mix of guys that can split the rest of the duties. I’d hesitate to say that we got full value for Tom Gilbert, but I think this was a trade that helps the Oilers out, and that’s what is important to me. I think Nick Schultz will be a welcome sight on our blue line.
Here are shots of some quick numbers for comparison:
On Ice GA = The number of times a goal was scored against while the player was on the ice.
TOT = Total time on ice
SHF = # of shifts
AVG = Average shift length
PP = Powerplay time on ice
SH = Short handed time on ice
EV = Even strength time on ice
Percentage of Team GA = the percentage of team goals against that this player was on the ice for.
In closing, I’ll redirect everyone to the old poll… what do you guys think of this trade, 10 games in?