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Dennis Gilbert was a reliable soldier for the Calgary Flames in 2023-24

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Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
24 days ago
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Calgary Flames blueliner Dennis Gilbert lost some playing time to the new acquisitions down the stretch, but remained a consummate pro throughout it all.

The season

Gilbert had ended the previous season as a reliable seventh option for the Flames blueline. He does a lot of the simple things a defenceman needs to do to not be a liability to his team.
In 2023-24 Gilbert started as an everyday option the first month. Calgary kept losing though and the small impact he has on the lineup he got taken out for a decent run as November hit. He then would get back in the lineup later in the month and stay consistently playing through untill early January.
In all he got himself into 34 NHL games – a career high – with only three games coming after the trade deadline.
Adding Brayden Pachal, Joel Hanley, Daniil Miromanov, and Nikita Okhotiuk to the roster contributed to Gilbert being lost in a numbers game. One where he was either outmatched by Hanley or was sitting to test the potential of a young player.

The numbers

One comparison that is easy to make is to look at the guy that came in and took the job of the other guy. Lets look at Joel Hanley vs. Dennis Gilbert for a second.
Now Hanley’s numbers get a Dallas boost here we have to take that into consideration. They are quite similar in defensive quality limitation (xGA/60) but Hanley had better success in aiding the offence (xGF/60) than Gilbert. It’s quite marginal here, but both guys have shown they can be a seventh defenceman in the NHL.
In his 34 games Gilbert scored one goal and got six assists for seven points. Those were career highs in assists and points as well. A decent year individually.

The future

I don’t envision him wanting to come back to Calgary. He has shown he can play effective fill-in hockey and be a reliable option if called upon, but he’ll want a more established spot. If any NHL team comes calling I imagine he’d sign right away. Calgary has too many people that passed him on the depth chart in the final quarter of the season, him staying in this organization is just setting himself up to end up going back to the AHL.
It is time for him to seek another opportunity elsewhere to try and keep growing and developing as a hockey player. He was reliable when called upon, limited in his ability to elevate any offence, and genuinely gave it his all every game he wore the Flaming C.

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