Long-time NHLer and now ex-Hershey Bear Tom Gilbert has signed a contract with the Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers in the German DEL for next season. This marks the first time in the 34-year old defenseman’s career that he will play in a league outside of North America.
Entering his 12th professional season, Gilbert has played 655 NHL games for five teams – Edmonton, Minnesota, Florida, Montreal, and Los Angeles – and recorded 223 points. He was a fourth round draft pick by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2002 draft but was traded two years later at the 2004 draft. As a rookie in 2007-08, he was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team after recording 33 points in his first full season. His best season statistically was 2008-09 as he scored 45 points in all 82 games. Last year, his career took a turn downhill when he was sent to the Ontario Reign, LA’s AHL team, and then traded to the Washington Capitals for future considerations. He played 25 games with the Bears and scored 25 points.
Martin Jiranek, the sports director of the Ice Tigers, was quoted saying (in a rough German-to-English Google translation):
Tom Gilbert is an NHL veteran who has his strengths both on the offensive and on the defensive. He has very well filled both roles during his NHL career and is another leader in our cabin. A defender with his impressive career was very high on our wish list for the new season. We are very happy and proud that Tom has decided to continue his career in Nuremberg.