John Gilmour was one of the few pleasant surprises that surfaced during the 2017-18 Rangers season. The fastest skater at the AHL’s 2018 All-Star Game put up five points — including two goals — in 28 games after joining the Rangers’ lineup on Feb. 9, 2018.
For most Rangers fans, Gilmour’s goals made him stand out in the last quarter of the season. He scored his first goal in his third NHL game and 10 games later his second goal was an OT winner against the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 28. The fact that he picked up just one point — a secondary assist — in the last 13 games of the season did little to sour the impression that Gilmour made with his shot and skating ability.
Too Good for the AHL
Before getting called up to the Rangers Gilmour put up 26 points in 44 games this season with the Hartford Wolf Pack. That’s more points than he had last year as a rookie in 76 games.
NYR prospect John Gilmour wins the AHL fastest skater comp with a time of 13.663 seconds, the 4th best all-time score.— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) January 29, 2018
When Jeff Gorton pulled Gilmour out of the Wolf Pack’s lineup the Montreal-native was fifth on Hartford in points and was one of the AHL’s top scoring defensemen. Clearly, the Rangers found something special when they signed the Calgary Flames’ seventh round pick from the 2013 Draft.
Gilmour in Context
Gilmour and Tony DeAngelo played a similar amount of 5-on-5 hockey this year for the Rangers; 415:13 and 445:33 respectively. Together, they led all Rangers defensemen in shots per sixty minutes during 5-on-5 hockey; 7.37 S/60 and 7.54 S/60 respectively. They were also second and first among Rangers’ D in relative Corsi For; 4.99 Rel CF% and 5.60 Rel CF% respectively.
All of those numbers are particularly relevant because of the hype surrounding DeAngelo’s puck skills and potentials heading into the 2017-18 season. All things considered, who do you think the Rangers’ front office is happier with heading into the offseason?
Pop quiz, hot shot: which Rangers defenseman did Gilmour share the most 5-on-5 ice time with this season? If your guess was Ryan Sproul (122:42 TOI, 5-on-5), you’re correct — but you also probably only guessed that after seeing Sproul’s name out of the corner of your eye. You sneaky little thing you. Gilmour’s second-most frequent defensive partner was Rob O’Gara (106:24 TOI, 5-on-5). So, the fact that he finished the season with a 49.59 CF% is pretty remarkable.
What did we honestly expect out of Gilmour coming into this season? And what did we expect out of him playing on the blue line of a team that was made up of all the stuff that Gorton couldn’t sell at a yard sale? Gilmour needs to work on his game away from the puck and improve his consistency, but he still made a huge step towards being an everyday NHL defenseman this year.
2018 Report Cards: Marc Staal / Mats Zuccarello / Ryan Spooner / Rob O’Gara / Jimmy Vesey / Brendan Smith / Vladislav Namestnikov / Brady Skjei / Steven Kampfer / Jesper Fast / Alexandar Georgiev / Pavel Buchnevich/ Ondrej Pavelec / Kevin Hayes / Mika Zibanejad / Alain Vigneault