Buffalo native Dennis Gilbert recalled by Chicago Blackhawks – Buffalo News

Buffalo native Dennis Gilbert recalled by Chicago Blackhawks - Buffalo News
Blackhawks recall Dennis Gilbert from AHL
Gilbert, a 22-year-old graduate of St. Joes, was recalled from Rockford by the Chicago Blackhawks and made his debut Wednesday night against the St. Louis Blues.

Wearing No. 39, Gilbert played 12 minutes, 46 seconds on defense and had a two-minute minor penalty. The Blackhawks beat the Blues in a shootout, 4-3, on Jonathan Toews goal.

Chicago Blackhawks: What to Make of Dennis Gilberts Recall

Gilbert signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Blackhawks last May after completing his junior season at Notre Dame, where he had four goals and 10 points in 39 games for the Fighting Irish, who lost in the NCAA title game. He was third-round draft pick in 2015.

I wouldn’t expect too much out of Gilbert should he make his debut tonight against the St. Louis Blues, but he does still have the potential to be a bottom-pairing guy. If he can play that role well, great. If not, this call up could also solidify his place in the organization as an AHL defensemen.

He finished his collegiate career with six goals and 42 points in 116 games. He was named Hockey Easts Best Defensive Defenseman as a sophomore.

That said, he’s a different prospect than most defensemen the Chicago Blackhawks have in the system. At 6’2″, 198 lb. Gilbert brings a size element that others simply don’t. He’s a stay-at-home defensemen who has made a name for himself by, get this, playing defense.

As a high school player, Gilbert made a verbal commitment to Niagara while with St. Joes. After leading the Marauders to a state championship in 2013, he opted to play juniors with the Buffalo Jr. Sabres. He then moved on to the USHLs Chicago Steel. More prominent hockey programs saw him and he gave up his scholarship offer and chose Notre Dame from among multiple options.

Before you get excited, Dennis Gilbert isn’t going to miraculously solve the Chicago Blackhawks defensive woes. I imagine this is a late season effort to get him some NHL experience and evaluate his game a bit further ahead of a busy offseason which could see multiple trades made.

“I had a goal, play in the NHL, and a dream, win a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold – all those things,” Gilbert told The News last spring after signing. “Everyone thinks about it, but you have to have a process that youre focused on. I know the Bills coach talks about The Process, and people joke about it a little bit, but you have to have a plan or your chance will pass you by.”

The last St. Joes graduate believed to have appeared in an NHL game was Cole Schneider during the 2016-17 season with the Buffalo Sabres.

Your first NHL game is a big moment for anyone, but it’s especially meaningful for Gilbert who has a lot to prove if he wants to make his NHL career last longer than this season. Fortunately for him, his defensive-defensemen tendencies are working into his favor.

Gilbert played two seasons at St. Joes, earning Niagara Cup championship game MVP honors in 2013. He scored in the state final, a 3-0 win over St. Anthonys (L.I.).  He also served as quarterback for the football team during his time at St. Joes.

“As much as we knew he was a special player, his work ethic and desire to compete really stood out,” St. Joes coach Rich Crozier said. “Our entire program is absolutely thrilled. … To have a student-athlete work so hard toward a goal and to successfully achieve it … we are so proud of him and happy for his family.”

If Gilbert isn’t able to elevate his game a bit further and prove he can hang at the NHL level, he may fall out of favor in place of other, younger prospects with higher potential. Here’s to wishing the kid nothing but good luck.

With a surplus of healthy defensemen, the Buffalo Sabres assigned Will Borgen to Rochester following an optional practice Wednesday in KeyBank Center.

Borgen, 22, was a healthy scratch Tuesday against Nashville and recorded a minus-5 rating in four games with the Sabres. He will rejoin the Amerks in time for their weekend home-and-home series against Syracuse, which begins Friday night in Blue Cross Arena.

Rasmus Ristolainen returned to the Sabres lineup Tuesday, while Matt Hunwick is back at practice and Matt Tennyson will be available as an extra defenseman Thursday against Ottawa.

The Chicago Blackhawks are out of the playoffs for the second straight year, so they might as well spread some playing time around, right?

Share Share Blackhawks recall Dennis Gilbert from AHL tweet share Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email Rockford IceHogs/courtesy The Blackhawks recalled defenseman Dennis Gilbert from the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL on Wednesday morning. Its the first call up for the 2015 third-rounder.

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Gilbert has five goals and 14 points in 59 AHL games in his first pro season after three seasons at Notre Dame. The more defensive-minded defenseman has become more involved in Rockfords offense of late with two goals and an assist in his last six games. Hes seen time on the top defensive pairing with Henri Jokiharju, who had 12 assists in 38 NHL games and 16 points (two goals, 14 assists) in 25 AHL games this season.

Gilbert offers more size (6-foot-2, 198 pounds) and physicality than the recent crop of the Blackhawks defensemen draft picks.

The Blackhawks were eliminated from playoff contention Tuesday night, and have three more games to close out the season. Chicago hosts the Blues on Wednesday night at the United Center.


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