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).
Brendan Shanahan came down pretty hard on Dan Carcillo for his hit on Tom Gilbert in the game against Chicago on Monday. He received 7 games for the hit.
What do you guys think? Too heavy? Too light? Just right? I’d say given Carcillo’s rap sheet, it’s probably about just right.. however it might be a little on the heavy side. But at the same time, I’ve always said how much I hate these hits like this where the defenseman is pretty defenseless trying to go for a puck with the forward having free reign on him. So yah.. 7 games is fine by me.
Gilbert had a big game last night, throwing a couple heavy hits, but it wasn’t his only big game of the year. The running joke of “that couldn’t have been Tom Gilbert throwing that hit” is now getting old, as we see him do it more and more. As usual, he and Smid made it difficult on their opponents. I didn’t think I’d see the day that Gilbert figured the physical part of his game out, but he seems to have on a consistent basis, and I’m really impressed. He’s worth his $4m/year now as he’s playing a complete game rather than looking like a guy forced into his role.
And before the “I told you so”s come out, he hasn’t always played like that. The last two years were difficult to watch. I call it like I see it and give credit where/when it is due. The first two years, I really liked his game and was a big supporter of his (from an offensive standpoint more than anything). The next two years, I was pretty disappointed in him. I wanted to see him do better for his own sake and the sake of the team, but I just was not impressed and found it difficult to defend him from the Oil fans out there and soon became one of those fans, unimpressed by his game.
This year he’s managed to keep his offensive game reasonably intact while adding new components to it – smarter defensive play, and finally using his size. See Tom? It wasn’t that hard. I believe Tom Gilbert and Ladislav Smid to be a #1 pairing, capable of shutting down opponents while being able to generate some offense too. This team would not be where they were without these two (in addition to “The Nuge” and Khabibulin). Before the start of the year, who would have thought we’d be saying that at this time?
Not sure if I mentioned this here already, or if anyone else did, but since Ryan Whitney came here (coincidence or not), Tom Gilbert has been a PPG player. He played 19 games with Whitney and has 3 goals, 16 assists for 19 points. Bloody hell that is impressive. Also, a small side note… Ryan Whitney will have surgery in the off-season similar to the surgery he had on his other foot (to repair an irregular arch in his foot that causes him discomfort).
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