In February, the Capitals landed 34-year-old defenseman Tom Gilbert from the Los Angeles Kings for future considerations.
The veteran of 655 NHL games never played in Washington, but left an indelible mark in Hershey. Gilbert tallied 13 points in 25 AHL games and had a veteran influence on the team’s young defenders.
On Friday, it was announced that Gilbert was leaving North America to play in Germany. Gilbert signed a one-year deal with the DEL’s Nürnberg Ice Tigers.
— Ice Tigers (@Ice_Tigers) July 21, 2017
“Tom Gilbert is an NHL veteran who is strong offensively and defensively. He has filled both roles very well during his NHL career and is another leader in our locker room. A defender with such an 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,” Ice Tigers sports director Martin Jiranek said in a release.
According to the Ice Tigers, Gilbert will wear the number 14 and arrive in Nürnberg with his family at the beginning of August.
With Madison Bowey out for much of the second half of the season with an ankle laceration, Gilbert stepped in and gave the Bears’ backline a boost during his absence. He also mentored many of the Caps young defense prospects.
“Last year when I came down I remember they had some older guys,” 22-year-old Colby Williams said to Chocolate Hockey’s Kyle Mace. “Both goalies, [Justin] Peters and [Dan] Ellis, were the nicest guys I’ve ever met. You’d never know how many NHL games they played, and it’s the exact same with Tom.
“You would have no idea that he’s had such a successful career in the NHL. I can’t say enough about that guy. He’s definitely helped me out a lot. I consider him one of my really good friends on the team. I think if I ever have any troubles down the road in my hockey career, I can go to him. I really appreciate what he’s done for our team.”
When he was 14-years-old, Bears defenseman Tyler Lewington even admitted to Mace that he bought a pair of Gilbert’s used skates and played in them as a teenager.
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