In the realm of defense prospects, John Gilmour was overlooked by almost everyone, including myself. He didn’t have a particularly great season as a 23 year old in Hartford last year, so naturally at 24 years old –prospect age-out territory– thoughts had shifted away from him. His solid half season in Hartford (6-20-26 in 44 games) combined with the need for the Blueshirts to sell at the deadline created the opportunity for Gilmour to be called up.
Since his call up, Gilmour has put up a line of 2-1-3 in 12 games. Nothing spectacular, but it’s the rest of his game that has drawn the attention of many. Paired with Brady Skjei, Gilmour has showcased great skating and smart decisions with the puck. His strength has been in the transition game, an area the Blueshirts sorely needed help.
It’s his chemistry with Skjei that has really taken center stage, though. On a team that is a black hole from a possession standpoint, this pairing has managed to put up a 56.42 CF%, which is far and away the best we’ve seen from a defense pairing. They’ve also put up a 63.33 SCF%, also by far the best pairing since the deadline.
It’s not all about the numbers, since we are talking about just over 80 minutes of time together. It’s apparent when you watch the pairing that they are able to transition better than the others. They have similar skill sets that seem to complement each other very well.
This could just be the rose colored glasses, since we haven’t had much to cheer about on the blue line in a while. Every signing has gone poorly. Every big contract has bitten them. But it’s the 24 year old rookie that was an after thought that has, at least for the time being, has helped stabilize 1/3 of the defense. I’ll take that for now, even if it winds up being short lived.