John Gilmour has earned his keep so far

AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek

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.

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  • Some guys are late bloomers. No doubt, this kid can skate and lead a rush. Also a pretty decent and accurate shot. Wish he was a little more physical, but the Ranger defense hasn’t been that physical overall for years. Maybe the new prospects will be, but he’s looking like a keeper so far!

    • “Some guys are late bloomers”

      Or, some coaches just do not allow some players to try and make a positive impact. And now AV can claim “credit” just like he did with Miller.

      We’ve seen this movie before (and my post, I know Spozo. Beat you to the punch, lol).

      • Some truth for sure Richter, but Gilmour wasn’t impressive at all last year or the beginning of this year.. He started coming on in Hartford the second half of this year and has been making some large strives since. I don’t think that it was so much that AV had a bad influence on him but he didn’t have to many options at this point, but to let the kids play.

  • It’s too short a period of time, and games to say he’s a keeper, or not, but he does look good. Now what will he look like when the prospects come to camp next season ? Right now we are in the need for bodies to play with, he’s done a nice job of it, but next season when players are going to be busting their tails to make the team, he may not be an option after all. Bottom line, we’ll enjoy his game now, and pull for him in the future. He could very well be our 7th guy!!!!!!!

  • Gilmour reminds me of Norm Maciver a bit. Good skating & puck skills, and a total lack of a physical edge. Could be a decent third pair/2nd PP unit defenseman on the right team though.

  • It usually takes defensemen longer to make the step from the AHL to the NHL. Gilmore does have big league passing and skating skills. It’s really difficult to judge his defensive game as the Rangers as a whole are very disorganize right now in their own zone.

    A large part of this is due to so many roster changes, but also the Rangers are getting outmuscled and have difficulties gaining possession of the puck. They are a very easy team to play against.

    • Bloomer

      Also the defensive scheme is tough to follow for some of these guys. They have been running around out there for what four years, with the same results…………Ulfy, Beuk, Ruff, with the same outcome, what’s wrong with this picture?????????

      • It looks to me like half the team are playing zone defense and the other half man on man. But Ranger fans have grown accustomed to watching this gong show. I would really like to see AV take his circus act somewhere else.

  • Gilmour has made Smith (remember him) dispensable. Might need to eat a bunch of salary, but Smith is unnecessary with Gilmour playing like he is. When Shatty comes back, I see Pionk going down (not O’Gara).

    Still need an offensive defenseman, not sure who can play that role.

  • Dave, you actually considerably understate Gilmour’s turnaround. Last year, he did not have a not “particularly great season”. He was awful. I believe someone at howlings described not sending him to the ECHL as the single biggest cause of the disastrous Pack season. And this year he was the Pack representative to the all-star game — and I believe won the fastest skater at that event.

    What we often forget is that there are a number of guys on the 50 man roster that the Rangers don’t ever expect will make it, but they draft them, sign them, and develop them anyway — and every so often they get lucky.

    Haven’t seen much of either of these two guys, but I have the impression that Gilmour is a better skater than DeAngelo – and surprisingly seems to have picked up defensive responsibility quicker. I’m guessing he has passed him on the Ranger depth charts.

    I would not read too much into Gilmour-Skjei though. Just over 80 minutes in 12 games sounds like they were only paired together 4-5 games. Considering that basically means playing together on the recent road trip, doesn’t mean much. Skjei has played with Pionk a lot more I believe.

    • Careful, you are thinking for yourself and may need to be sent to the BSB re-education camp. Get with the Party dogma and say that DeAngelo will be part of our Glorious Revolution!

      • DeAngelo will be part of our Glorious Revolution Comrades!!! Maybe.

        At least with DeAngelo there’s still time to develop. He’s a great passer but there will be multiple times every game where I question his decision making with the puck … and although he’s willing to play with a bit of an edge he just doesn’t seem to have the strength to do it in the NHL just yet. First things first, he needs a rigorous boot camp this summer so he comes back stronger.

        • Tell you what Dave, if Lias Andersson turns out to be a 50+ points type of guy while playing solid defensively and Captaining this team down the road there will be NOTHING to hate about that deal.

          I was and remain a HUGE Stepan supporter. When people on these blogs and others shat all over him I was always there to defend the guy as a #1 center — just not an elite one aside from his defensive abilities. That said he was never fleet of foot, he’s hitting his late 20’s and with a NMC kicking in … well … it was a sound decision (as much as it might pain me) to trade him because at this point in his career it’s more than likely all downhill for him.

          If management saw in Andersson a faster version of Stepan and he turns out that way, then it’s a very successful deal. DeAngelo is just a little extra icing on the cake and at 22 I’m not ready to give up on the guy despite the fact he’ll never be a top flight d’man. He needs to get stronger and he needs to play in a different defensive scheme than what we’re currently utilizing … and with the RIGHT partner. All that said he could still become a 3/4 and a 2nd PP QB behind a guy like Shattenkirk.

          • That’s not really how this works. Getting only the 7th and a 22 year old aging-out prospect for a 1C and a starting goalie is not good business.

          • Really? It doesn’t work that way? Raanta was NOT a starting goalie although he played very well here and ADA was 21 at the time of the trade, so calling him an “aging” prospect is a bit over the top, don’t you think?

            I doubt you were privy to a lot of the conversations out there. Perhaps the fact that Stepan was not an elite #1, that his skating was very “meh” and the game is going in a totally opposite direction and the fact he had a NMC kicking in along with a 6.5m cap hit hindered his value somewhat. Perhaps that #7 was the best pick they could get and they decided better to have the #7 (quality) than say a #20 and a #40 (quantity), etc. A lot of question marks surround this trade and although I would never suggest we got a haul of value here, the exchange was pretty fair.

        • Actually, I think the BSB view of ADA has changed dramatically in the last few weeks. Before the deadline deals, when Ranger prospects were few and far between, ADA was a savior (because we needed one). Suddenly, there are a host of prospects and the assessment of all prospects is much more rational.

      • Gilmour was drafted in the 7th round. ADA was drafted in the 1st. If you think viewing ADA as the higher-potential-ceiling prospect is some sort of view unique to BSB readers, hate to inform you…it isn’t.

        Also to note, Ray framed this as Gilmour vs. ADA with his commentary…Dave did not do so in the core piece. The readers and authors of this blog are far from fawning over ADA, generally speaking.

        Gee, it’s almost as though you have some baggage about being in the minority of thought on some topics, and you were just waiting for the first chance to break out your communism reference somewhere…probably should have chosen a better opportunity; was sadly rather squandered being deployed here.

      • Gilmour has been making the most of the opportunity presented to him. He is still learning, but he is learning well.

        ADA is a question waiting to be answered. Tony came from a situation in Arizona where he carried the puck out of the zone and pinched or joined the rush most of the time. With the Rangers he is being asked for the first time to play well in his own end, so there is a learning curve. It is obvious that his caution in his own end has muted his offense. The style he is asked to play presently might not be a good match for him. Whether he ever breaks out with the Rangers and displays the skills that everyone believed he has is up in the air. He might be better off with a team with a different system, or he might not make it at all.

        • The fact that he is -17 in 29 games, far and away the worst on the team — and the visual evidence of numerous miscues — and the fact that he has gotten 3:50 in PK time while defensively suspect players Pionk and Gilmour have gotten 28,8 respectively in only 13 games indicate that the defense hasn’t really come around yet. I really haven’t gotten to see him much. What I saw suggested he was serious about playing defense, but was haunted by sporadic miscues.

          I don’t think the style stuff is a great argument. I think defensemen need to play defense first, unless maybe you are Erik Karlsson. What ADA did in Arizona didn’t work either in the sense that the team lost most of its games. BUT I think writing DeAngelo off at this point would be as foolish as having written Gilmour off a year ago. He has talent and his ELC has another year to run.

          I’d trade him IF I could get equal or greater value, but I’d keep him if I couldn’t.

          • I agree that it would seem to be early to write him off. In the past he has been a point producer at every level, including in the NHL with Arizona. As you stated, a year ago Gilmour didn’t look nearly as competent as he does now. Since he has another ELC year, it makes sense to see if he blossoms, especially since the kid has obviously been putting in the effort.

  • Agreed. Gilmour has looked incredible solid in his time with the big club. I’ve been most impressed by his skating – particularly his speed. Watching him skate the puck up ice or join the rush, you can really see his feet get moving and it’s evident even on TV that he’s got the speed to blow by other players.

  • Not surprised to hear that Tampa coach ”’loves Millers game”’, calls him ”’a big, physical player , fast skater with skill and scoring ability”’……..calls the trade a great acquisition for us!!!!!! Said he added needed size at forward!!

    Miller and Mcdonagh now join Strallman, eric stall, hagelin , hunwick etc players not good enough for AV’s squad but work out fine for stanley cup winners/contenders……

    • Come on Rich, I’m not an AV supporter but you can’t possibly believe that what you said applies to all the players you listed. McD was fine under AV, his trade was for “other” reasons … Hunwick is OK, but not a big loss … hagelin was traded for the most part because the Rangers didn’t want to pay him $4m per year. Hags has never scored more than 39 points in a season and has played 80+ games only twice in his career. I like the other stuff Hags brings to the table, but they did eventually find a better replacement for him in Grabner and at a bargain basement price.

      Stall was badly utilized by AV, this is true — the real crime here was getting him in the first place. He’s a center and we need a winger with some scoring punch. Staal on the wing here was very underwhelming. Re: Miller, we shall see. I didn’t like to see him go, at the same time we can all agree that when he was hot he was a damn good player but that he also had a lot of cold streaks.

    • Your boy Grabner is really tearing it up in Jersey though, huh? 6 games, nine shots, and no goals.

      • My “boy”??? I don’t care what he does with NJ, I care about what he did with us for almost 2 years. Besides, you’re making a judgment on him after just 6 games? I haven’t watched their games but maybe just maybe he isn’t being utilized properly, or he doesn’t have the right linemates or maybe he’s just hit a little cold streak. It’s absurd to judge the player and that trade on the basis of 6 games,

        • Dude, I was responding to RichS—relax. I gave your post a thumbs up, actually. I would’ve brought up every point you did too. RichS touted Grabner fiercely, insisting it was a mistake to trade him, and to not lock him up longterm.

          • Ah sorry, not the first time I’ve made that mistake. lol

            Yeah he was a must trade, like Nash … whether he and/or Nash fit back into our plans moving forward is up in the air. Personally I would try to sign Grabs this summer and I would imagine we have a leg up on the rest of the League for that seeing as how he thrived here. Of course everything is contingent on price and term, but I think he’ll be a super 3rd liner for another couple of years at least.

  • Re gilmour. Not crazy about him in d zone but love his skating and sneaky heavy shot. Which he is quick to use. Almost 3 shots per game.
    His best chance at the team next year may be at right wing.

  • I’m happy to see the perspective change on Gilmour on the blog.

    The was some pretty nasty impressions of his game a year and a half ago.

    Hopefully we have all leaned not to judge too quickly on the newbies because as we all have seen there is a pretty significant AV learning curve. Especially for a D-man

    • A year ago his game was garbage. A year and a half ago it was worse. Couldn’t get the puck out of his own end when he had it, was a spectator in his own end without it.

      I commented earlier in the season that he started to look like a passable NHL D man. Still has issues without the puck in his own end and couldn’t move Darren Pang out of the crease, but as a 3rd pair/7th D he’s useful. The speed didn’t help him much tonight when Point torched him to the outside and powered through him like he wasn’t there.

      • LMAO on the Darren Pang comment, I couldn’t get that image out of my mind drinking coffee this morning. Great !!!!!

  • Miller will cool of as he always does. He is bigger, but never really played that way.
    Namestnikov is more skilled, and more versatile. I believe he will pan out as the somewhat better all around player in the long run.

    They are both free agents at the end of the year. I think we should try and sign him. We need more skilled players on this team.

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