Friday, July 1, 2016

Tom Gilbert: Two Autographed Cards

NHL free agency was pretty wild today...

There were many signings - a lot of them of the "too much term" variety that will spell "buyout" in three or four years - but some players went for a decent price, usually on one-year "show-me" deals, such as Tom Gilbert's contract with the Los Angeles Kings. They also signed backup goalie Jeff Zatkoff, grinding forward Michael Latta and depth defenseman Zach Trotman.

Gilbert had just spent two seasons with the Montréal Canadiens where his offensive production of years past pretty much dried up, but at least he became a dependable stay-at-home defenseman in the process. Still, we're taking about a guy who had put up 28 points with the lowly Florida Panthers in 2013-14 and had consecutive runs of 33, 45, 31 and 26 points with the even-worse Edmonton Oilers from 2007-08 until 2010-11. His 13 goals from the blue line in 2007-08 would have ranked second in the NHL last year...

And that's why his value dropped to $1.4M for next season and why a team like the Kings can afford to use him in its bottom pairing.

I had sent him custom cards for him to sign where he was shown wearing the Habs' uniform over a year ago and never heard back, but I did cross his path at the Bell Centre after he'd been shut down for the season following knee surgery, and he signed a couple of old cards for me in blue sharpie.

Here's the first one, showing him in the Oilers' pre-lockout white (home) uniform, from Upper Deck's 2007-08 MVP set (that's card #333 in the series, it's his rookie card), which also slots him as #77 in my Oilers Numbers Project:
There's also this one with the Minnesota Wild, wearing their white (away) uniform, on card #131 from UD's 2013-14 O-Pee-Chee set:
I'm not a huge fan of those recent OPC sets, with the extremely loud colours that many times don't fit the team's palette.

I am a fan of this Gilbert Bobby Orr-type goal against the Kings, however:

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