If the puck is moving the right way, Tom Gilbert is probably on the ice.
Up to this point, I've posted the raw chances numbers for each player without much editorializing or analysis outside of noting the consistent Ryan Jones Effect. I've left the analysis to Bruce, Ryan and Scott. The lack of editorial content will change with this article.
Chance % Team Rank: 7/23
Chance % Def. Rank: 2/8
Diff/60 Team Rank: 7/23
Diff/60% Def. Rank: 2/8
The six players in front of Tom Gilbert were Jeff Petry, Taylor Hall, Shawn Horcoff, Jordan Eberle, Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky. No Edmonton Oiler played tougher minutes with worse teammates and performed as well as Tom Gilbert.
TCF = season total even strength chances for; TCA = season total even strength chances against; SCF = segment even strength chances for; SCA = segment even strength chances against; Segment % = player scoring chance percentage during the season segment; Team Seg % = Oilers team scoring chance percentage during the season segment.
|Game #||TCF||TCA||SCF||SCA||Segment %||Team Seg %|
*click to enlarge
Gilbert rock-solid throughout the season except for games 11-20 and the beginning of the 21-30 segment. That dip coincided with Tom Renney pairing Gilbert with Jason Strudwick to face the toughs. It was a terrible decision.
|With Gilbert||Without Gilbert||Gilbert Without|
14 of 19 players were better with Tom Gilbert than without and many significantly so. The Taylor Hall - Shawn Horcoff - Jordan Eberle line is a glaring example of this. Without Gilbert they were below 50%. With him they were above 55%. Theo Peckham was somewhat respectable with Gilbert, but without him, Peckham was below replacement-level. Gilbert even helped Ladislav Smid rise above 50% in their time together, but without Gilbert, Laco drops to .446.
I've written about the selective perception of Oilers' fans when it comes to Tom Gilbert and since then the vitriol has increased. There is a rather vocal portion of the Oilers' fanbase that deems Gilbert to be a terrible defender (because they don't understand defense), a wimpy player (presumably because they've never seen shot block totals) a salary cap anchor (because they don't understand value) and a detestable person (because he writes about his personal life for the Oilers' official site). If you, the reader, believe any of the above about Gilbert, you are ignorant to the facts, purposefully obtuse or you are an imbecile.
The story here is clear. The Edmonton Oilers with Tom Gilbert are a vastly superior team to the Edmonton Oilers without Tom Gilbert and Tom Gilbert is an outstanding player.