Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Another Day Older and Closer To Death


Well I wrote a eulogy for Ales Hemsky and then they went and signed him. I guess I should have written one for Tom Gilbert as well. Maybe they would not have traded him.

I liked Tom Gilbert from day one. I went out to Edmonton in November of 2007 as part of my fortieth birthday year and Andy Grabia and I checked out a game between the Oilers and another bottom feeder (though by design), the Blackhawks. The Oilers dressed a bunch of hotshot kids - Gagner, Cogliano, Nilsson - and the Hawks countered with Toews, Kanes and a bunch of unknowns (at that point in time). Oilers won in a shootout, thanks to Shawn Horcoff who flew in and buried it, nice and easy.

Tom Gilbert snuck onto the roster that fall, thanks partially to injuries and partially to his own outstanding play in camp. He got the opportunity and never looked back. From day one he was a player. That's the way I described him. Like Hall or Ted or Petry or Eberle he just looked like a hockey player. He made mistakes, because all hockey players do, and a puck carrying and puck moving defenceman is going to make a lot more than a bang it off the glass and out guy, but he could skate and he was smooth and he never looked like, say, Matt Greene or Theo Peckham, at sea amongst the men who play in the NHL.

He was durable as hell and played through injuries and while he wasn't a thumper and as a result was never a fan favourite, he was a good defenceman from day one and this year was finally recognized for what he has been for a while now, a quality top pairing guy, taking on the toughs, starting in his own zone, and basically sawing off game after game. With Ladi Smid he gave the Oilers a true top pairing for the first time in years.

When Stauffer started floating the idea that Petry's emergence made Gilbert expendable we should have known something was up, no matter how dumb the idea was. As I said last week you have to keep your good players and the idea that a kid (who I like a lot by the way) with a handful of games under his belt suddenly makes your best defenceman expendable, well, that's dumb. Especially when you throw in Whitney's health issues.

Keep your good players, right? Should be the name of this blog.

Nick Schultz isn't magic beans so I guess that's a step forward from the usual return the Oilers get for their experienced quality players. Where he is right now varies on who you talk to, its possible he is a top pairing shutdown guy, its possible he is a 4 and slipping. He can play the right side so I presume he will slip in with Whitney and Smid will carry the mail for young Petry for now. I don't hate hate hate the trade but its still not a good trade.

If Whitney is healthy and if Petry does not regress then the Oilers have a legit top four. I would have preferred keeping Gilbert and acquiring a Schultz type for magic beans, more depth is better than less you know, but oh well.

I'll miss Tom Gilbert but more important the trade is another loss on a club that is so thin that it can't afford a loss. Gilbert is a better Dman than Schultz, no matter what Marc Crawford or the other talking heads think. Oh and when is Terry Jones going to retire anyhow?

So if you trade a Dman who is a top pairing guy who can also add offence and on top of that blocks more shots and hits more (if you believe those stats matter) than the guy you're bringing in then, sadly its a loss which means the club is weaker than it was before.

And the whole idea is to get better, right?


Welcome to Nick Schultz. Oilers got themselves a good player, just not as good as the guy heading the other way.

Good luck Tom Gilbert. Enjoyed watching you these past years, certainly one of the few bright spots on this dismal franchise. A guy who came in and did his job and did it well, night in and night out. A very good hockey player.


Darren said...

From day one Tom Gilbert was my favorite player, for the reason you gave and more.

He always reminded me of a Nicklas Lidstrom-lite type player. Of course he wasn't as good, no one is, but his defensive positioning and stick work was/is superb. And he always looked to make a play, not the chicken-shit off the glass and allow someone to make the mistake.
The fact that everyone hated him because he 'wasn't gritty' enough made me love him all the more, because that must mean he was doing something right ;)
I had to endure friends last night taking the piss saying it was a good deal because they all know how highly I rate Gilbert. I just said it was a terrible deal, which it isn't actually, but it sure isn't a deal where you can look at it and think the Oilers win. At best, it's even, and that's if the cards fall right.
And we all know they rarely do.

I just think the Oilers are run like Sp*rs.
Terrible. ;)

Lord Bob said...

From day one Tom Gilbert was a favourite of mine, because we somehow traded Tommy Salo for him and the idea of getting some actual value for that piece of Swedish shit so blew my mind that I still haven't pieced it back together.

Bruce said...

@Lord Bob: As an experienced Oilers fan I have learned to jump whole generations of trades to mollify myself. Here's a new example: Salo = = Schultz. That's an exchange I'd make again tomorrow.

Using similar logic/blinkered rationalization, Mike Comrie = = = Ladi Smid. Just leave those gaps in between, and we win! Perry? Pronger? Who the CFP are they??

Bruce said...

PS: Pat, I cannot fucking read your gatekeeper's passwords, seemingly proving the popular theory that I am not a human. It takes me 2 or 3 tries to get through most times.

mrzael said...

I’m thinking that Steve Tambellini is a smart G.M., Maxwell Smart kind of smart. Bumbling along with Max’s luck . He has the fortune to import the Magnificent Bastard from another agency, Austin Powers. This leads to garnering Agent 14. His great plan of bringing in CHAOS Agent 35 in goal directly leads to an unplanned for diamond, Agent 4 . He then goes under the Cone of Silence with KLowe, “Well Chief, that worked great let’s do that again.” Agent 93 is acquired as a result. Then Agent 94 comes back and our Maxwell is smart enough to let this gift horse look him in the mouth. He then bumbles his way to surprising himself that Agent 83 wants to stay, even after he greased the way for his exit through CHAOS CHED Agents. Now Agent 77 is shipped away for an obvious need but it’s like trading ScarJo to get Tina Fey. I guess we need the comedy. In conclusion, I’m going to miss Gilbert Gilbert and hope that Agent 86’s luck wins out against all odds.

nanaimo oil said...

Must say, sitting here in my beach chair in Acapulco, I think it was a smart move to improve the defense. We need experienced pro's that can keep the puck out of our net and Nick Shultz is a hardnosed man who will get the job done. Good luck to Tom Gilbert but I have always felt that we would never win a championship with him...Brian

Halfwise said...

I liked Gilbert, and on the ice Nick Schultz is no Tom Gilbert.

But if Nick Schultz can do a bit of what Charlie Huddy used to do before they let him go for nothing while housecleaning (Glencross echo, anyone?) maybe, maybe there is some silver lining in this trade.

Nick Schultz knows how to play defense and from his interviews it sounds like he knows how to mentor defense.

Given (for example) Cam Barker's evident weaknesses, a good defensive defenseman who can teach and play is worth more than just a good defensive defenseman. This would matter even more with Griffin Reinhart in the lineup, or Colten Teubert for that matter.

Tom Gilbert brought a more rounded game, every shift. No argument. But there might be some other benefits besides the actual shifts that Schultz plays.

Druds said...

OMG...of all the players you have to have a man-crush on its Gilbert?? I dont know what to say...I have never in 4 years ever heard anyone say.."did you see that great hit Gilbert laid on" or "did you see the way Gilbert went through the whole team and scored" or even did you see how Gilbert made a good pass..I am sorry but I just do not see the basis for his enshrinement in the former Oiler's Hall of fame. He was a so-so player for his term here bordering on bad for some periods. I get the fact he was young and it takes some time to develop the skills in the backend but for all the potential it just seems to me that the guy never got it unstuck. He was in need of a enema, he never showed any passion, he always just was "there".... He needs to move on for his own good. I think he is happier sitting in the basement of his house playing video games. He reminds me in some ways of Alfred E Penner ...you know.... WHAT? Me Worry?

Anonymous said...

Here is the real problem for 12-13 season. In Goal we have Habby should be in AHL mentoring Roy & Dubnyk good backup but still hasn't proven if his a #1 . On "D" we have Tuebert ,Barker both 7-8's Peckham ,Sutton & Potter 6-7's Shultz a 5-6 , Whitney a 3-4-5 , Smid a 3-4 & Petry potential 2-3 . We have 5 top forwards Hall , RNH , Ebbs , Hemmer & Gagne We have Horc & Smyth both should be 3rd line ; Belanger & Lander 3-4 line centers at best, Magnus & Omark who should be top 6 forwards if handled right, Jones Eager Pettrell at best 3rd maybe 4th line players Hordichuck won't be resigned .NEED GOALIE / #1-2 "D" and top 6 forward . Tons of trade bait including #1 pick if needed