Earlier this morning, the Chicago Blackhawks recalled Dennis Gilbert from the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL. The Blackhawks selected Gilbert in the third round (91st overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. The 22-year-old defenseman will make his NHL debut tonight against the rival St. Louis Blues.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) April 3, 2019
In his first season of professional hockey, Gilbert has five goals and nine assists in 59 games for the IceHogs. He is known more as a defensive-minded blue-liner though, with a thick 6’2″, 200 lb frame. In his final season of collegiate hockey at the University of Notre Dame, the Buffalo, New York native was third in the nation with 88 blocked shots in 39 games. Dennis Gilbert perfectly fits the mold of defensemen the Chicago Blackhawks are currently desperate for.
Although his offensive numbers aren’t too impressive, Gilbert holds an advantage being a more physical, stay-at-home defenseman. The Blackhawks are currently short in supply of defensive defensemen, but they have a plethora of offensive-minded prospects. Gilbert may be stuck in the logjam of bottom-pairing blue-liners the Blackhawks currently have, but his style of play could earn him some playing time next season.
Dennis Gilbert’s late-season call-up is a smart move by the Blackhawks’ front office. With the Blackhawks officially eliminated from playoff contention, this is a perfect opportunity to evaluate his abilities at this point of his career. Especially with the recent struggles of Gustav Forsling and Carl Dahlstrom.
Hopefully, the young left-handed defenseman plays well in the final three games of the 2018-19 season.