32-Year-Old Defenseman – Montreal Canadiens
Tom Gilbert Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, $5.6 million contract with the Canadiens in July of 2014.
Gilbert had six blocked shots in Thursday night's loss to the Oilers. He leads the Canadiens with 24 blocks through 11 games.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
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Playing alongside Brian Campbell in Florida, Gilbert generated a market for himself in 2013-14 after scoring 28 points in 73 games with the Panthers before his season ended early due to a sports hernia. He's averged 22:22 a night in nine NHL seasons, but is an atrocious minus-49. He's not a shutdown defender, but will give the Canadiens more of an offensive bent than the recently departed Josh Gorges. He's expected to suit up as one of the top-six defensemen every game.
Another Minnesota native on the Wild, Gilbert came over at last February’s trade deadline after several seasons with the Oilers. Gilbert will likely get an opportunity for power-play time alongside Ryan Suter, but just remember his numbers have declined the last three seasons. Since his 45-point campaign in 2008-09, he has posted seasons of 31, 26 and 22 points, and he managed just 72 shots on goal last season. Was that a erosion in skill or a function of porous team defense in the Oil Patch? One can only assume that Gilbert’s numbers have no where to go but up, but much of the upside for the soon-to-be 30-year-old is gone. Expect somewhere between 25-30 points and consider any more to be gravy.
Gilbert had a breakout season in 2007-08 with 13 goals and followed up with 40 assists the year after, but he has yet to come close to either number the past two seasons. Like so many of the Oilers, Gilbert seems to have stagnated in his progression. He is likely to anchor the Oilers second defensive pairing and still could see time on the power play as, outside of Ryan Whitney, the Oil don't have another offensively gifted d-man.
Since Gilbert's breakout season in 2007-08, where he had 13 goals and 33 points, he hasn't come anywhere near denting the twine as much, potting only 10 goals in the past two seasons. He has turned into an assist machine with 66 over the same time period, however. Gilbert is only 27 years of age and his best seasons may still be ahead of him, but he is not among the elite defensemen in the NHL and can probably be had pretty late in your draft.
Gilbert only potted five goals last season, a disppointing total when you consider he had 13 the season before, but he add 40 assists and is quickly becoming one of the better playmaking defensemen in the NHL. What's even better for fantasy owners is that he is flying pretty far under the radar and could be of great value later on in your drafts.
Gilbert played an average of over 22 minutes per game on the blue line for Edmonton. Gilbert finished second among rookie defensemen in scoring with 33 points (13 goals). Pretty impressive totals and should only get better with experience.
Gilbert doesn't boast huge upside offensively, but has all the makings of a solid, two-way blue liner for the Oilers. Unfortunately, the team has a surplus of defensemen, and with his two-way contract, Gilbert may be a victim of the numbers game in 2007-08. Keep an eye on his performance in camp.
Gilbert is coming off four years at the University of Wisconsin. He is a solid, two-way defender in that he can put up points, but does not shy away from physical play. Future top four defenseman, but needs time in the AHL to develop.