Gilbert vs. Schultz, 10 games in…

By , March 20, 2012 3:16 pm
Tom Gilbert runs from Edmonton...

Tom Gilbert flees Edmonton...

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:

Tom Gilbert stats at a glance, 10 games in with the Wild

Tom Gilbert stats at a glance, 10 games in with the Wild

Nick Schultz stats at a glance, 10 games in with the Oilers

Nick Schultz stats at a glance, 10 games in with the Oilers

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?

Tom Gilbert for Nick Schultz...

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10 Responses to “Gilbert vs. Schultz, 10 games in…”

  1. G&S says:

    Since Whitney has been paired with Schultz I think his(Whitney’s)
    ) game has been improving at good and steady pace and I really like that pairing. Remember that Bomb that Whitney scored against the Flames(I think). Well that was the end result of a superbly fine, length of the ice pass from Nick. If he can continue to send the puck up the ice in that manner I think he will surprise many with how many points he will get ( compared to what he was producing with the Wild).

    IMO we won the trade for the short term with the long term prospects still up in the air. I just like that we added some much needed experience on the back end.

  2. Racki says:

    I don’t think Whitney will ever be the same until his feet/ankles/whatever are no longer bothering him. Apparently it’s been a big issue for him this year.. and really, it shows too.

    I kind of wished we could gracefully part ways, as I don’t know if he’ll ever be the same. But I really like him a lot and would much rather that he be miraculously healed. We’d be a muuuuch better looking team on the blue line with a healthy Whitney.

    I am very happy with Schultz, and would say that we did the right thing in the trade, but I think Gilbert will be big for the Wild too. He’s playing a crap load of minutes there and looking fine doing it too.

  3. chucker says:

    I still think this is a need for need trade, but I was never a fan of Gilbert’s, so I am biased for sure.

    I think we get a rock on the blue line who retrieves the puck in our end and that is something Gilbert was weak at to me. I loved his offense, but Petry and the cheap Potter made up for that. I think both teams likely have guys waiting in the wings that will take over the roles of their traded players. We have Petry, Potter, Klefbom, Gernat etc. coming for puck movers and we may add one at the draft. Minnie has lots of quality stay at home prospects too.

    The one thing I have wondered is if Tom very, very quietly asked for a trade. I doubt it, but it would explain the out of the blue nature. Again, I doubt it, but stranger things have happened.

    When I look at this I look at the body of proven work for their careers. Let’s be honest;Their were many times we hated Gilbert and for good reason. I still think Grebeshkov was a better player. Gilbert has sucked for a long time and he finally has a decent, but bot great year. You gotta trade a guy like that when you can get quality back.

    I am not saying he is going to suck, but it would not surprise me to see him level off or regress or even progress. That is to say, I don’t think you really know which Tommy G is gonna show up each year. We can’t have that here anymore. I hope he does well because a good trade for both teams is always good for future deals. I just happen to be on the other side of this trade.

  4. Racki says:

    Chucker: Oh I totally agree it was need for need. I know there is a contingent of people that hate that we traded Gilbert. But, I think that we improved on some need by picking up Schultz. Gilbert’s minutes are going to spread throughout the d-pairings though. Petry and Smid were already playing high minutes, and I’m not sure anyone (aside from a healthy Whitney) in our D-lineup can carry that load.

    I have no ill will towards Gilbert.. I think he was a very good puck mover, and could eat up lots of minutes. That part will be missed. He was also a pretty astute shot blocker. However I do think that his battle level in the D-zone is weak. Not for lack of try, necessarily.. I just don’t think he was very good at winning battles for most of his time here.

    This trade, as you noted, will also breed some ice time for the likes of Klefbom, Gernat, Marincin, Teubert, etc, etc. That can be a good thing and a bad thing though, but it would be nice to see these kids in action.

    I also preferred Grebeshkov (With all of his flaws) over Gilbert.

    And I would say that trading Gilbert on a high was a good idea.. I just have a tough time thinking we got full value with Schultz, BUT the word is that he brings a lot more to the table than just what his numbers say.

    At any rate, I’m very happy with the deal and agree with a lot of what you’re saying Chucker.

  5. chucker says:

    I think the perceived value is what critics of the trade would focus on. I know he played big minutes for us and blocked a massive amount of shots. That was good in my eyes. I guess the issue is, to me, do you really want Gilbert playing so much when he is not strong in his own end? He was playing because he is good, but also because we had no better option for the defensive minutes.

    I think it is hard to peg the offensive defenseman at times. He is a really good player, but not the guy who will hold a lead for you or be key in your own zone. I think Minnie’s system will help him out that way. Their forwards do a lot of work to help the D.

    Did we leave some value on the table? Perhaps, but I think a trade like this was one that both GMs were likely talking about for a while. I think they likely both evaluated it for a while before making the trade. Both guys were key players on their clubs. I have to think it was not a deadline deal, it just happened at the deadline if you know what I mean.

    Next year will give us more perspective on how it worked out for both clubs.

  6. Racki says:

    I agree that I don’t think we wanted Gilbert playing that many minutes.. although this year he handled it a lot better, I thought. I had said it many times myself too that I thought he made a much better 2nd pairing D with more relaxed roles.

    But that said too, I think a lot of people figure we could have moved someone else to get Schultz (and still had Gilbert on line 2, for instance). But I’m not so sure about that anyways, since Minny seemed really attached to Schultz.

  7. chucker says:

    Whitney? I would have rather seen him go if that is what you are alluding to.

  8. Racki says:

    I agree, I would have moved Whitney before Gilbert. This is pretty much purely based on Whitney struggling so much with the feet problems. I think if he’s healthy, he’s better than Gilbert though.

    But yah, I kind of wondered if they could have moved Whitney instead. I like having on to right-handed D’s too.

    I’ve made it no secret though that I wouldn’t mind seeing the Oilers move Whitney in the off-season. But I would much rather see him return to full health and play with us, if that’s at all possible.

  9. oilinblood says:

    NS has been really solid in the games i have seen. I could count three rough reads he made tonight VS Tampa but all in all he rarely makes the bad play, rarely is going the wrong way, never trips over himself, and almost always makes the right pass at the right time to get pucks out and move forward.

    his offence was the one thing i pointed at as an unknown since he hasnt had a green light atmosphere since junior.

    I think with a 5 man defensive press and green light offense it is wise for the Oilers to look at more guys who caan give you a clean 20 rather than a minute beast. 20 minutes of that kind of hockey is equal to 30 of trap, lock, sit and wait… imho.

    In summary I repeat what i said the day of the trade; we traded a player who seems to still be learning, for one with almost the exact same contract and age who is already polished. You take and factor in that this team doesnt have alot of solid d-men, and a young offensive core that will make mistakes… and what this move should tell you is that the Oilers brass want to actually not finish in 30th next year. Aquiring NS is aquiring a finished project that you know what you can get out of. The Wild got a player stilll learning and trying to find consistency–much like the rest of the oilers team.

    as an additional comment to this; petry has been twice the player in gilberts absence than he was when gilbert was here. since the trade i would say with certainty petry (still learning)>gilbert (still learning). when you add that in to the equation…there is no doubt the oilers made the right move.
    Addition by subtraction doesnt have to only be in the instance where a person is having a negative effect in the dressing room or on the ice in an obvious fashion. it can also be just opening a position so that other players are not stunted. This was my main concern with hemskys contract. I still think we will be drafting a russian centre with our first pick and we will hopefully trade our 2013 first in a package for another stable nhl d-man who is already polished like NS. then we can start moving up the nhl standings.

    BTW i have been paying close attention to Klefbom this year and it wouldnt surprise me if he pushes someone out of a job at camp next year. He is very VERY solid and in just a year has made drastic improvements which will cross over to the nhl. I think Musil is over there alot to pass on feedback the oilers brass have for him. I am very excited for him to land in etown.

  10. Racki says:

    I agree on Schultz, Gilbert and Petry.

    Petry just amazes, night to night. He makes his mistakes from time to time, sure, but considering his NHL experience, he keeps the mistakes quite low. I love how he doesn’t quit on plays too. Best case of that was one of his games in the past month where he blew a tired at the offensive zone blue line and went down when the puck came back to him. It would have been an odd man rush, but he hung in there and managed to pull off a miracle, swatting the puck away twice and keeping it in the offensive zone, from on his ass.

    Other than that, he is physical when he needs to be, and solid positionally in other moments. I also love watching him try and throw the hip checks. He’s done it a few times and hasn’t made huge contact just yet, but eventually he’ll land a good one. Even when he hasn’t contacted 100%, he’s still slowed guys down enough. It is awesome watching him track guys… cutting across the ice. I loved what I saw of him in College in that regard. He also is great at jumping in on the offense and is cool and collected in the defensive zone.

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