Gilbert - Photo courtesy Sports Illustrated

By The Numbers - Tom Gilbert #77

Tom Gilbert is our player of the day in our By The Numbers segment.

For those of you with the heaviest objects in the back, please refrain from launching them until the completion of the exercise.  Thank you.

NAME:  Tom Gilbert

POSITION:  Defence

DOB:  10 JAN 1983 (28)

2010-11 NUMBERS: 6G-20A-26 PTS, (-14), 32 PIM in 79 GP

 2010-11 SALARY:  $5.5M (three years remaining at $4M cap per year) will be RFA on July 1, 2014

THE SKINNY

Not sure why this guy gets the warts he does with the fan base.  This guy could easily be considered one of the most consistent players on the Oiler blue line this past year, yet he takes a good amount of flack amongst the fans.

Can we agree that last year wasn’t a very good year when it comes to team defence?  Alright, I think I still have most of you.  Let’s roll out some bullets.

  • Ryan Whitney led the team in average time on ice in 2010-11.  Know who was second?  The second highest cap hit on the blue.  I’d say that’s a fair expectation.  Gilbert chewed 24:30 worth of time on average per game.
  • Couple that with the fact he was the second leading scorer amongst (an admittedly questionable crop) of Oiler blue liners, and I’d say that there’s two things going for him, right off the bat.  Remember to keep breathing, his cap hit is $4M.  It’s not like were’ talking about Wade Redden.
  • TOM GILBERT IS A SHOTBLOCKING MACHINE.  I don’t know if this interests you at all, but it sure interests the hell out of me.  Take your ‘too soft’ talk to the bin.   Go on, watch some footage.  The guy averages OVER TWO BLOCKED SHOTS PER GAME.  That’s top five IN THE LEAGUE right there.  That’s not amongst guys on the blue line either, that’s top five in the league.  Give me a guy with Gilbert’s skill set, now add the fact that he’s going to block a tonne of shots.  That’s a package deal.

WHAT COULD BE

What are we griping about again?  Oh, right.

Look, I like my physical players.  I like Theo Peckham, and I like watching a guy get shook up from a big forearm when he’s too close to the crease.

Tom Gilbert is not that guy.  If you can separate that from your mind, then you’ll see that Tom Gilbert is a very important piece of this team going forward.

Here’s the lowdown.  Tom Gilbert is going to chew up a lot of clock in 2011-12 on the first pairing, he’ll get somewhere around 35 (9G-26A) points, he’ll block an absolute tonne of shots, and he’ll make the forwards he plays with better around him.

His cap hit is $4M.  Seemed like a lot three years ago, but if you’ve been paying attention to the free agent period over the past month, you’ll kindly notice that he’s earning every dollar he makes.

Again, I can’t go through with the “he’s not tough enough” gag.  If you don’t like the guy, okay, I can get along with that.  If you think he’s a poor player, I’m all ears as to why.  Gilbert is a top guy on the blue.  There’s no two ways about it.

Next Player:  #83 Ales Hemsky

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