It has yet to be proven if Tom Gilbert really is the pure evil hell spawn that he has been made out to be. However, what is clear is that the reasons given for trading Nick Schultz for Gilbert don't really seem to fit. It is also clear that Gilbert can replace Schultz's spot on the roster, but not on the team.
I'll admit it. I'm not a big fan of the guy. You've heard it, some of you decided to take it too far in the conversations about it, and the community got a lesson in how discourse is to be handled. I have never expected everyone on here to agree with me, but never before was I made out to be some sort of complete idiot just because I didn't like a move the team made.
Yet, here we are. Apparently, I hate Tom Gilbert with the red hot intensity of 1000 yellow suns. I'm not quite sure where that idea comes from, but if you think it is true, so be it. I don't like the game Gilbert plays. I never will, most likely. I have absolutely zero issues with the man wearing the sweater.
How does this all shake out for grades? Let's find out.
#77 / Defenseman / Minnesota Wild
Jan 10, 1983
|2011 - Tom Gilbert||67||3||19||22||-8||20||2||0||1||72|
Nathan- The lightning rod. Enough has been said about Gilbert on these pages and many others. He came in and stunk the place up but got better and better every game. Literally, he improved shift after shift, game after game. Maybe it was getting used to his new role, new pressure, new system. I don't care. By the end of the season he was logging huge minutes and providing the team with a puck-moving defenseman who was less of a liability in his own end than he was when he came. I look forward to seeing what he can do with a full summer and training camp under his belt.
Bryan- I'm tired of getting burned by "offensive" defensemen. I'm tired of hearing the words "he will make our team better immediately" or "he is a puck mover." Until a guy steps up and proves it, I am going to lean toward not trusting a defenseman who can't play defense. He improved as the season wound down... just like everyone else on the team. The pressure was off, and suddenly everyone can play hockey.
I'm not buying it. Give me proof he can play continuous, offensive minded hockey from the blue line and not be a liability, and I'll sing his praises. Until then, I'm just not sure I'm willing to accept this isn't just another Martin Skoula / Filip Kuba / Marke Zidlicky situation.
This is the one move I have not understood by Chuck Fletcher, and I still don't. Bring in a guy to replace a guy you already had and traded away, and in the process destroy the morale and chemistry in the room. I just don't get it. If that makes me a jerk, then I'm a jerk.
Jesse- I never liked Gilbert in Edmonton, and his play in Minnesota didn't change my mind. He's not good defensively, he didn't make the breakout better, and I could really give a rat's ass if he's from Minnesota. How can a 6'3", 210 lb defensman only manage 11 hits in 20 games?! Tom Gilbert, you are officially Puss in Skates. Seriously, grow a pair and start to play like a man in the corners and in front of your net. You're a defensman. Your job is literally in your title. Fucking defend.
Grade - F
JS- Hoo boy. This is actually a tough one. Expectations were sky-high on account of him replacing Nick Schultz in the lineup. As such, many of us were very disappointed at first when he made us wonder why the Oilers' fanbase was sad to see him go. He had a horrible start as a Wild player.
He did end up fixing some of his shortcomings, but I feel his good plays were too few and far between. There's no doubt there was some improvement at the end of the season and he even played 4 consecutive 30+ minute games, which shows he can handle the big minutes, but it's pretty hard to grade him seeing as he arrived when the team was in the midst of a legendary tailspin. Make no mistake, the expectations are still sky-high. This guy is supposed to improve the team offensively, so I want results next season.