Tom Gilbert Inside Out

Lowetide
November 27 2010 03:13AM

Playing defense in the NHL during the post-lockout era is one of the toughest jobs in sports. Gone are the days of clutch and grab, subtle stickwork is now rewarded with a whistle and 2 minutes in the box and the old standby (holding the stick) is now called "holding the stick" and comes with 2 more minutes in the sinbin. An entire player type (the plodding defender with size and a terrific wingspan) was nailed to the Cory Cross when management discovered faster wheels were required in the "new NHL." What happens when a "wheels" defenseman falls on hard times? 
 

The first thing we need to do is identify what "hard times" look like. When we say "my eyes tell me" history often shows that our eyes are wrong. So, let's have a look at Tom Gilbert over the last several seasons and see what his plus minus numbers were doing:

  • 07-08: Gilbert -6 on a -14 team
  • 08-09: Gilbert +6 on a +7 team
  • 09-10: Gilbert -10 on a -56 team
  • 10-11: Gilbert -7 on a -17 team (so far)

If we can agree that a fair measure of an "NHL pairing" is one third of a team's overall plus minus for a season (three pairings, divide the overall number by three) we get this:

  • 07-08: -6 when -5 would be average
  • 08-09: +6 when +2 would be average
  • 09-10: -10 when -19 would be average
  • 10-11: -7 when -6 would be average (so far)

So, a brief summary of his career might go like this: impressive as a rookie (just past average, that's terrific for a rookie); well above average in seasons two and three and then (so far) about average in year four. Fair?

I know relCorsi is a dirty word around these parts, so won't get too far into it. I will say that Gilbert is in the black relCorsi this season and has been every season of his NHL career:

  • 07-08: +1.5
  • 08-09: +2.6
  • 09-10: +8.1
  • 10-11: +2.0

I absolutely know Tom Gilbert has been the goat on many plays this season, and that he spent much of last year looking exposed. History teaches us that NHL defensemen lose previous performance levels for (mainly) two reasons: injury and changes in how they are used. I have no evidence of injury in the case of Gilbert (although he blocks a lot of shots so we know he's banged up a little bit at least by this time in the season), so we fall back on how he's being used. Let's list Gilbert's playing time (and when he's used) by season:

  • 07-08: 17:24EV; 2:15PP; 2:51PK
  • 08-09: 16:31EV; 2:54PP; 2:32PK
  • 09-10: 16:46EV; 2:59PP; 2:39PK
  • 10-11: 17:54EV; 2:52PP; 2:47PK

Man, that is consistent. Seriously. Tom Gilbert plays every game and plays a lot every game. I bet there aren't many NHL defensemen who have delivered that kind of consistency over the last 4 seasons. With that kind of consistent playing time, has he been consistent offensively?

  • 07-08: 0.98 5x5/60; 3.01 5x4/60
  • 08-09: 1.30 5x5/60; 3.91 5x4/60
  • 09-10: 0.92 5x5/60; 2.24 5x4/60
  • 10-11: 1.22 5x5/60; 0.00 5x4/60

Pretty consistent at even strength and his PP numbers were good until this season. We should probably assume Gilbert will return to the median in this era and that the putts will drop as the season rolls along (all 10-11 stats will be more reliable as the GP rises). So consistent according to our friend math. Hmmm.

May I suggest something? I think maybe some of us (certainly me) are viewing the game through those pre-lockout eyes and all those mistakes are adding up quickly in our collective brains. Tom Gilbert has been exposed this season (and much of last) but that's part of the new NHL. If the opposition is going to fly 40 sorties into your airspace every night (and you can't use the weapons that were previously available) then a lot more bombs are going to drop. And if the goalie is less than league average then some or a lot is going to get on you. It has been this way since Henry Shrapnel was a kid.

I believe that's partly what we're seeing here, along with Gilbert being in a bad stretch in terms of decision making. He's an NHL veteran now, those tentative decisions will soon be replaced by those butter outlet passes. Gilbert should recover, his resume suggests he's quality and there are no injuries we know about with this player.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 Deke Rivers
November 28 2010, 12:22AM
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@DSF

His value to the Oilers is not relative to Horcoff it's relative to what else is available to the Oilers across the rest of the league. Trying to crystal ball into the future is pointless. If there are 4 other players of similar productively and any one of them is willing to sign for a number less than Horcoff, Hemsky takes the what the market will pay him, not what Horcoff's contract suggests he should be paid.

I'm not sure what the point is of referencing Gilbert and Horcoff as a roadblock for future growth. UFA/RFA market is based on league wide market price not what individuals on a team make. Of course if the Oilers want to extend him before his contract expires this puts the ball more in Hemsky's court.

If no one else is available how much money is Hemsky's points worth to the Oilers then? do they say no because DSF said it would be crazy to overpay or do they look at there own situation and decide if they are willing to pay the price.

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#2 John Chambers
November 27 2010, 08:17AM
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Guys like Gilbert and Cogliano are frustrating because for a stretch at the end of '07-'08 we really thought we had a core of good young players who were going to carry us back into the playoffs soon enough.

So Lowe goes out and trades for Visnovsky and Eric Cole and it appears that along with the kids, the Oilers are baaaaack.

But the kids are slow or worse, they regress in their development and we're to realize that they temporarily exceeded expectations.

As the article suggests, similar to the Gagner article, Tom's not a horrible player, we've just put him in a position to fail and where he's overmatched.

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#3 andrewmk20
November 27 2010, 09:11AM
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I don't see how we can blame the guy. He's in that category of dmen like Brian Campbell and Tobias Enstrom. A good passer with decent wheels who plays a non physical style. Only in Edmonton, where the defensive depth is completely lacking, would a defenceman like Tom Gilbert be cast into a top pairing role. He is a 4-6 defenceman who can help on the PP and can fill some PK time because of his shot blocking. He's not a terrible defenceman but shouldn't be matched up against top level forwards.

Basically this team right now is bad and lacking depth and experience. The Oilers are filling holes with the best they have. It's just going to be ugly for a while. A top 3 pick is imminent and it's likely going to be that way for the next 3 to 4 years. So stick by the team rebuild or whine like a baby. The choice is yours.

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#4 Jonathan Willis
November 27 2010, 10:40AM
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In short: Gilbert's a respectable top-four guy on most teams in the league. He's got some flaws, he's making too much money, and right now he's in a place on the depth chart he probably shouldn't be inhabiting.

But with all that said, the 'Gilbert is garbage' people really don't have a clue.

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#5 Jonathan Willis
November 27 2010, 10:43AM
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@ Dodd:

C'mon, Dodd. That takes all the fun out of it. It means that a fan can't say 'on the Penguins, Ryan Getzlaf would be a third-line centre' or 'in Detroit, Kevin Bieksa is a third pairing guy.'

Both accurate, neither especially relevant.

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#7 Jonathan Willis
November 27 2010, 10:52AM
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Clarkenstein wrote:

Gilbert being one of them. This guy is no damn good. Period. End of story. On a top 5 team he is a 5-6 D man.

Looking at the top-5 teams from last year, that makes Gilbert worse than:

Brian Pothier/Shaone Morrisonn

Doug Murray/Kent Huskins

Niklas Hjalmarsson/Brent Sopel

Keith Yandle/Sami Lepisto

Kevin Bieksa/Sami Salo

The Vancouver comparison is arguable, but aside from that? Really? Did you look at the depth chart of top-five teams before you tossed that gem out there or were you guessing?

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#8 SumOil
November 27 2010, 10:55AM
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In defense of Gilbert, he has been playing against top level competition. That is one level higher than he should be. further more in support of this article

http://www.coppernblue.com/2010/11/17/1819989/jason-strudwick-and-tom-gilbert-never-the-twain-should-meet

One of the moments where we saw GIlbert very bad was the road trip and most of it he played with Strudwick. The results speak for themselves.

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#9 SumOil
November 27 2010, 10:58AM
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All the talk about gilbert being 5th Dman is nonsense. He is a very good second pairing guy on any team.

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#10 SumOil
November 27 2010, 11:25AM
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C-DOG wrote:

Most of those d-men are better than Gilbert and would certainly be better equiped in playoff style hockey when it gets tougher, we haven't even seen Gilbert in a playoff atmosphere, I cringe at the thought of it. Yandle is a budding superstar, the ones Gilbert compares to are 5-6 d-men making way less money, Huskins was 3rd pairing, Lepisto was a 5, Washingtons pair were 4-5, but everbody know there problem is their back end. I think you were guessing and just proved most peoples point.

How are most of these defensemen better than Gilbert. They are all 3rd pairing D-men. Gilbert has almost always been a second pairing D-man is playing for a pretty bad team right now and hence his numbers are suffering

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#11 Horcsky
November 27 2010, 12:37PM
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If Tom Gilbert is on a team where he's a 5th or 6th dman, that team is equipped with a D corps ready to go deep into the playoffs.

Lets be careful about the "Gilbert is overpayed" argument. I don't see the relevence of his contract to his play, just like it doesn't apply to Horcoff, Penner, Foster, etc. The team has cap space, we aren't handcuffed by large contracts.

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#12 Bash
November 27 2010, 03:22AM
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Giving the guy some slack is the FIST thing us fans need to do

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#13 JustinOilers
November 27 2010, 03:25AM
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Another bad sighning by K.Lowe. First

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#14 Death Metal Nightmare
November 27 2010, 04:45AM
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stats are stats, what we see is a scared player. call up the "confidence solves everything" dudes and tell them it was barely ever there for him. most of his assists were out of play things that other people made happen. yep, part of the play, but hardly a consistent "confident" action of his as if he was conducting some grand play.

hes a 3-4 anywhere else, more likely a 4 with a solid 3 holding him up.

he gets too scared in the corners, doesnt have the ability to avoid forechecking well cause hes really not that amazing of a skater and he cracks under pressure. has no physical demeanor.

i just really dont see that intelligent of a player to give him this much slack / hype. dont hate the guy but with the eye, its obvious writers here just like overselling players.

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#15 velo
November 27 2010, 06:17AM
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I don't mind the guy. He will come around...but to what level? He had a hell of a final stretch to get his numbers up at the end of last year. If not for that tear I think LT, and I may be wrong, that this article could be written about a 1+ year slide.

Hope he rebounds and has a good rest-o-the-year. But, not holding my breath.

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#16 Eric Johnson
November 27 2010, 08:18AM
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I like how he played the last game. With Pekham as his pair, Gilbert appeared (in my eyes anyway) to be more physically engaged.

I think for many players on this team, getting physically engaged, early, whether taking a hit or giving it, sets the tone to the rest of the period.

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#17 Mitch
November 27 2010, 08:21AM
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Tom had a bad year, except for the end of the season 20 game stretch. Tom has been bad since the pre-season began. Can he get better, well it couldn't get any worse. Gilbert is trying to do to much on the ice, for him to get better it starts with defending and making a good first pass, the puck is a gernade on his stick.

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#18 Robin Brownlee
November 27 2010, 08:33AM
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Lowetide: You've chosen your words and your numbers carefully to convince us we aren't really seeing what we think we're seeing. I know, trust the math.

Pre-lockout eyes? Gilbert has been viewed as an NHL player post-lockout only. He broke in with the new rules. He hasn't had to adjust like players who'd been in the NHL five or 10 years before the change. Tough job? Sure. Tougher on others who've had to adjust and have done a far better job than Gilbert.

Consistent? How so? On his season totals? Consistent is not a word that comes to mind when I look at Gilbert. Last season, he had 2-9-11 in his first 61 games and dressed things up with 3-17-20 in his final 21 games. There are other examples in previous seasons. That is not consistency by any definition.

You make so much sense so often I seldom find myself disagreeing with you even slightly let alone strongly, but that's not the case with Gilbert.

This is some of the best massaging of wording and numbers I've read in awhile when it comes to assessing a player. You overlook, understate or explain away his weaknesses and emphasize every strength. He gets the benefit of every doubt from you. He sounds like a bargain at $5.5 million. He's not.

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#19 oilers2k10
November 27 2010, 08:41AM
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I dont know, some of the decisions he makes I just do not understand..I'm confused as to what the heck is going on in his brain with some of the turnovers he's made this year, seems to me like he's often afraid to take a hit so he'll quickly just throw the puck away, who cares where in hope that he doesn't get body checked..sometimes when there's the option of a simple outlet pass he'll pass it right down the middle, perfect to the other teams forwards..can he not just move the puck forwards? Along the boards or something? Or just flick it up towards center ice or something..but not into prime time scoring chances for the other team..why would you ever pass across your OWN crease with a behind the back pass, especially when there's a forward from the other team right on your ass? Maybe he'll return to his form from the end of last season soon...we shall see.

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#21 Robin Brownlee
November 27 2010, 09:07AM
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@Lowetide

Slick. I am humbled by your ability to slip and sidestep. I am Ernie Shavers to your Ali.

And stop covering Gibby's ass . . .

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#23 Mark
November 27 2010, 09:13AM
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Wow, tough crowd. Keep it civil guys, lots of us enjoy both of your works :)

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#24 Feynman
November 27 2010, 09:15AM
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In my eyes Gilbert has always been a slow starter and generally picks up his game as the season rolls on (although I definitely agree his start this year has been awful). One thing I've always liked about his game is his persistence in making those short passes to an open man from the corner instead of wrapping the puck up the boards (a play that kills the Oilers all too often because our board play has sucked for a long time now). Although these 'cute' passes can sometimes be turned over I still like seeing the confidence of a skilled play attempt. Give these guys time; they'll turn things around eventually. The one aspect of Gilbert's game that has been most disappointing is his lack of physical play. If he can somehow sort that out I still believe he could be a very good defenseman.

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#25 Krafty
November 27 2010, 09:17AM
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Sure, Lowetide did massage the numbers a bit to emphasize his point, but the fact is that those numbers are still there regardless how they are presented. We all know hes in a slump right now, but i think its just as much to do with the players he is with (and against) as it is himself. This team makes any defenceman look bad.

We can only hope the team gets better as the season goes on, and if/when they do Gilbert will be as big of a reason for it as anyone, and we will see his play (and his numbers) get better.

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#26 a lg dubl dubl
November 27 2010, 09:24AM
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What bugs me the most about TG is his unwillingness to take the man wether it be in front of the net or against the boards. A dman IMO doesnt have to be a Peckam every shift and run the opposing player into next week, but a dman should be willing to help his goalie out by clearing the front of the net with his body (post lockout rules) or stopping the cycle against the boards, again with his body. Gilbert doesnt do any of that, he'd rather wave his fairy wand(stick) at the player in hopes they disapear. If Chris Pronger can figure out how to take the body(legally)post lockout Gilbert should too. I know dmen develop later in thier careers but IMO Tom's had 4 years already and it looks to me like he hasnt figured out sh*t! I'd rather see a Belle or Petiot or Petry or Plante up here developing than watching Tom freakin Gilbert wave his wand every game. But thats just my 2 cents on the matter.

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#27 Wanyes bastard child
November 27 2010, 09:25AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Slick. I am humbled by your ability to slip and sidestep. I am Ernie Shavers to your Ali.

And stop covering Gibby's ass . . .

There's a Gilbert joke in there somewhere :P

I have to say, one of my more favorite things about this site is the interaction among the writers*. Keep up the great work all :)

*And Lowetides pictures.

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#28 C-DOG
November 27 2010, 09:30AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Slick. I am humbled by your ability to slip and sidestep. I am Ernie Shavers to your Ali.

And stop covering Gibby's ass . . .

You need to invent the Brownlee stat, similar to Corsi, Desjardins, only yours will figure out % of winning 1 on 1 battles, which would be the most important stat for a defenceman, since they are called "DEFENCEMEN", seeing 5'11" Matt Dushene out muscle 6'3" Gilbert is embarasing.

Tom Gilbert isn't even a 1 trick Pony, all he has is a great outlet pass, he doesn't put up offensive #'s consistently enough, doesn't win enough battles to use his outlet pass. Gilbert is similar to Foster, he has better footwork and outlet pass, Foster has a better shot/offence and wins a little more 1 on 1 battles, both guys should be under 2 mil as 3rd pairing specialist, but you can't have both on the same team. They are bigger versions of M.A.Bergeron. With Petry in the system Gilbert must be shopped.

Notice shopped,I don't know if he's tradeable

Just because a player is a top 4 d-man or top 2 centre on this team it doesn't mean thats what they can be on a great/contending team.

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#29 Crackenbury
November 27 2010, 09:32AM
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This article is the best support for the eyes tell me what I'm seeing crowd. No stat will convince me Gilbert is earning his salary or even playing to an average dman level. The guy has been brutal. I'll take Peckham over Gilbert on my defence any day.

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#30 gord962
November 27 2010, 09:36AM
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I can't believe the people jumping to Gilbert's defense. He makes BAD decisions with the puck. Last game he had one of the best games of the season and it wasn't until the third where I first said 'nice play, Gilbert'. I have never been able to figure out what Oiler mgmt or other fans see in him.

I believe Willis posted something on Gilbert (well over a year ago now) that had him on pace for a career similar to Corvo and Poti. I think Gilbert is slightly better than Poti but not as good as Corvo.

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#31 Dodd
November 27 2010, 09:47AM
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I realize, LT that some numbers exist to suggest that our expectations of Gilbert and use of him have changed (or are beyond his capabilities) but in the end, requirements of a defenseman are pretty simple:

You gotta hit. I often shout at the tv wondering why an opponent wasn't plastered when he was ripe for it, and then I see that it was 77 who had him on the boards.

You gotta be hard on the puck. The turnover happens off Gilberts stick more than any D-man. Anyone with this stat, please chime in and educate me if I'm wrong. Gilbert is stripped of the puck behind the net or on the boards multiple times per game.

Make the right decisions. When 77 has the puck he seems to make at least one or two giant glaring unforced errors per game resulting in turnovers and goals.

LT if pre-lockout vs. post-lockout meant that these three points are (or were) less valid to the position at any point, then I guess I need to re-evaluate. It seems to me that the less - physical D-men in the league have the other two points covered.

Bad play is bad play. Do we need to give Gilbert easier minutes and be satisfied that he's a soft Steve Staios - a shot blocker with an offensive upside? For what we are paying 77, I think the argument of "it's hard to be a defenseman in this league" shouldn't be a talking point.

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#32 michael clarke
November 27 2010, 09:49AM
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At what point can we expect Tom Gilbert to turn his game around? He looks like a rookie dman rather than a guy with experience.The only thing Tom Gilbert has shown he can be consistent about in the past 2 seasons is that he is inconsistent. Totally without question or statistical goobleygook he has shown he can't be relied upon. You can gloss it over anyway you like but he reality is that Gilbert right now is a 6 or 7 th defenceman. I'd argue that Tom Gilbert would have been shown the door by now if wasn't for that big fat contract.So we are stuck with him.

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#33 jake
November 27 2010, 09:56AM
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I believe if Gilbert had only been given a 2 year contract back in April 2008, he probably would be in another city by now, sort of like Grebeshkov.

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#34 Quicksilver ballet
November 27 2010, 10:14AM
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Its been 5 yrs since the lockout, if it hasn't happened by now, then maybe dumbing down the rules is the only thing left to do. With two hands on your stick you can do almost anything outside of a blatant crosscheck. Steve Smith is starting to look like he's not getting through to his group of players. He's one guy who knew how to throw the two hands on the stick punch to the shoulder/head and break up someones timing/momentum. It has to be that these kids are just so soft rather than his ability to teach the game to them.

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#35 Dodd
November 27 2010, 10:23AM
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@Quicksilver ballet

Careful with generalizing... just because Gilbert is (IMHO) too soft to take on what is asked of him, doesn't mean Peckham and Smid are, and it doesn't mean Steve Smith can't teach. If Peckham is throwing the hits and Gilbert is not, how is that the fault of Smith?

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#36 Ribs
November 27 2010, 10:26AM
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Gilbert is having an off year...And he's still our best defenceman.

He is to blame but if he had some sheltering the warts wouldn't look so bad and we'd probably be talking about how much he has developed instead of how he has supposedly regressed.

To me, he looks more solid out there in his physical game. He's blocking shots that he never used to and he's gotten better in front of the net. He still needs to work on his corner work and limit his panic attacks with the puck. The good news is that he's now going to the corners. The time will come when he can get in there, fight for the puck, and make a solid pass. It just takes time.

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#37 Jonathan Willis
November 27 2010, 10:29AM
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Scoring chances at the quarter pole.

Gilbert's better than most of the group, but considering the list of players he fares better than (Whitney, Vandermeer, Peckham, Strudwick, Foster - just one top-four guy on the list) that's probably damning with faint praise.

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#38 Ryan14
November 27 2010, 10:30AM
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How come so many are willing to give cogliano the benefit of the doubt because of his good first two years, yet not Gilbert? Both are being put in positions this year where they're not comfortable. Of course they will struggle.

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#39 Clarkenstein
November 27 2010, 10:31AM
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LT you are too subjective when writing about some of these donkeys.. Gilbert being one of them. This guy is no damn good. Period. End of story. On a top 5 team he is a 5-6 D man. You would put him out only in certain situations and matchups and he would likely look pretty good. He is another Klowe bomb. As Reuben said you're good with the numbers. Might I suggest politics some day! You've even got some of your kool-aid drinkers believing that Horcoff is actually a first line hockey player deserving of the most ridiculous contract in NHL history including Holik et al. Having said all that you're still the first blog I read every day!! Keep up the great work.

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#40 jake
November 27 2010, 10:34AM
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Ribs wrote:

Gilbert is having an off year...And he's still our best defenceman.

He is to blame but if he had some sheltering the warts wouldn't look so bad and we'd probably be talking about how much he has developed instead of how he has supposedly regressed.

To me, he looks more solid out there in his physical game. He's blocking shots that he never used to and he's gotten better in front of the net. He still needs to work on his corner work and limit his panic attacks with the puck. The good news is that he's now going to the corners. The time will come when he can get in there, fight for the puck, and make a solid pass. It just takes time.

"The time will come when he can get in there, fight for the puck, and make a solid pass. It just takes time"

He's in his 4th season, 27 years old (twenty seven).

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#41 Jonathan Willis
November 27 2010, 10:36AM
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A couple of quick Gilbert links, while I'm here.

This article is what I had to say when Gilbert was signed, and I think it stands up to scrutiny. (Although a quick glance at the comments shows I was wrong wrong wrong on Robert Nilsson).

And here's a list of comparables I did close to two years ago now: Aucoin, Corvo, and Poti. All of those stand up relatively well, but I think Poti's the guy he most closely resembles.

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#42 Dodd
November 27 2010, 10:38AM
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@Clarkenstein

I hate these "On a top five team this guy would be..." arguments, because that speaks more to Lowe and Tambellini than it does to our situation with one player.

It could very easily be said that "on a top five team Tom Gilbert would be Brian Campbell" if he were surrounded by a better support cast. It's pure speculation both ways.

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#43 Dodd
November 27 2010, 10:45AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

In short: Gilbert's a respectable top-four guy on most teams in the league. He's got some flaws, he's making too much money, and right now he's in a place on the depth chart he probably shouldn't be inhabiting.

But with all that said, the 'Gilbert is garbage' people really don't have a clue.

I agree, even though I've been very critical of him this season. I gotta remember that my feelings on Gilbert are 50% because I prefer a hard hitting, safety - first defenseman to the puck - moving guy who doesn't play the body.

Gilbert is definitely not garbage. Am I mad at his play lately? Yup.

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#44 Dodd
November 27 2010, 10:47AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ Dodd:

C'mon, Dodd. That takes all the fun out of it. It means that a fan can't say 'on the Penguins, Ryan Getzlaf would be a third-line centre' or 'in Detroit, Kevin Bieksa is a third pairing guy.'

Both accurate, neither especially relevant.

Haha I will listen to your plea for reasonable thought, JW, and then stomp on it, reminding you that reasoning has no place on the inter-tubes.

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#45 C-DOG
November 27 2010, 10:55AM
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Dodd wrote:

I hate these "On a top five team this guy would be..." arguments, because that speaks more to Lowe and Tambellini than it does to our situation with one player.

It could very easily be said that "on a top five team Tom Gilbert would be Brian Campbell" if he were surrounded by a better support cast. It's pure speculation both ways.

In a round about way these are criticisms about managegment, over paying for Gilbert/Horcoff & rushing Gagner by 2-3 years.

Of course Gilbert/Horcoff are going to try and get what they can $ wise, and Gagner isn't going to tell Low/Mac-T I think I should go back to junior. Once you start breaking things down, you have to analize the players to see if management was wrong or right. Thats all this is for the most part.

Brian Cambell actually played #5 d-man minutes last year in their cup run, and it was the elc contracts that allowed them to get away with his $7 mill contract, but this year he is that franchises boat anchor, thats holding them down from their depth that they had last year.

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#46 Dodd
November 27 2010, 10:59AM
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@Lowetide

Your response only solidified what I said: I have to remind myself that 77 isn't that type of defenseman.

The reason I'm down on him is the terrible giveaways. The horrible puck management. Are these qualities we should only expect in a different style defenseman?

If these cringe - worthy plays are because Gilbert is a puck moving defenseman, then I agree, Lowetide, I'm being too hard on him, and we are asking for what he can't provide because of playing style.

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#47 OilFan
November 27 2010, 11:13AM
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Gilbert is brutal non way around it. He can't hit, can't take a slap shot and is scared of the boards. We don't have a top pairing dman on this team. Not one. Which oiler dman would be a top pairing dman on anyother team ?

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#48 C-DOG
November 27 2010, 11:16AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Clarkenstein wrote:

Gilbert being one of them. This guy is no damn good. Period. End of story. On a top 5 team he is a 5-6 D man.

Looking at the top-5 teams from last year, that makes Gilbert worse than:

Brian Pothier/Shaone Morrisonn

Doug Murray/Kent Huskins

Niklas Hjalmarsson/Brent Sopel

Keith Yandle/Sami Lepisto

Kevin Bieksa/Sami Salo

The Vancouver comparison is arguable, but aside from that? Really? Did you look at the depth chart of top-five teams before you tossed that gem out there or were you guessing?

Most of those d-men are better than Gilbert and would certainly be better equiped in playoff style hockey when it gets tougher, we haven't even seen Gilbert in a playoff atmosphere, I cringe at the thought of it. Yandle is a budding superstar, the ones Gilbert compares to are 5-6 d-men making way less money, Huskins was 3rd pairing, Lepisto was a 5, Washingtons pair were 4-5, but everbody know there problem is their back end. I think you were guessing and just proved most peoples point.

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#49 Ribs
November 27 2010, 11:21AM
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He's in his 4th season, 27 years old (twenty seven).

Just looking at the ages of defencemen throughout the league can give you a better idea of what being a 27 year old defencman can mean...

Highest paid defencemen over 27 yrs old: 23

27 yrs old or younger: 7

-This list includes Mike Green, Dan Hamhuis, Dion Phaneuf, Jay Bouwmeester, Joni Pitkanen, Shea Weber...and Tom Gilbert.

Second Highest Paid Defencemen over 27 yrs old: 16

27 yrs old or younger: 14

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#50 Ashley
November 27 2010, 11:33AM
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Hi Lowetide,

I always enjoy your articles and rarely comment unless I find something that doesn't add up, so I don't want you to think I am all negative. My silence is my applause.

For this piece, I mostly agree with what you have read into your math. Some friendly criticisms though: my problem with the way you present and interpret your advanced stats is that I often see you explaining away stats that don't make sense to your article while throwing wonton support behind stats that fully support your position. Not to mention the selection of advanced statistics for your articles may suffer from selection bias although I can't prove that since I don't know enough about the advanced statistics to make the case, but I notice certain stats are presented and others left out depending on the post.

Now to my point; you have given Gilbert a pass in this article because he has been "exposed" on a relatively bad team. I don't disagree with this. He is a number 4 defenseman on most NHL teams, and is expected to be a top pairing guy in Edmonton, a team with lots of other holes already. Why don't you give Khabibulin the same benefit of the doubt? You use his SP as some kind of guiding tool of what Khabibulin has done this season, and have thrown him under the bus in a recent article (my impression). I've been playing and watching hockey for an awful long time and I can say that I trust my eyes more than some of the advanced statistics. I agree with you, Gilbert has performed about the same this year as he has in all of his previous seasons. My eyes tell me that. I don't agree that Khabibulin has been terrible. Khabibulin has been average by his standards (better last year for the first 15 games), but not terrible regardless of what his SP is. He is technically speaking, a very good goaltender, and highly consistent. He rarely lets in a bad goal, and his positioning and reflexes are world class. He has been "exposed" this season to a very high number of excellent quality scoring opportunities which more than explains his SP.

There is so much luck involved in some of these statistical measures, especially highly processed and refined ones like corsi. Stats might give you a rough idea of what kind of season a player is having, but I think we must be wary of small samples and luck. Gilbert -11 on a road trip? There is more luck than anything at play there. He played reasonably well on that road trip, but the team had a few bad games. I suspect +/- will even out over the season, and if it doesn't, it won't change my impression of Gilbert's ability. I also expect that the Saviour DD's save percentage will fall through the floor once a larger sample has been registered, but even if it doesn't, it won't change my impression of who is the better goaltender between Khabibulin and DD at this point in their careers.

Thanks for the articles.

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