By Suzie Cool (@SuzKewl) | Published on June 9, 2020
The 2018-19 season was a memorable one for defenseman John Gilmour. His third season with the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack saw him put up career numbers with 34 assists and 54 points in 70 games that year, while his 20 goals established a franchise record for goals by a defenseman.
On top of that, he appeared in five games with the New York Rangers and was named to the AHL First All-Star Team and named to the Atlantic Division roster for the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic.
Three months after leaving the Rangers organization, Gilmour joined the Buffalo Sabres, signing a one-year contract on the first day of free agency.
It should come as no surprise that the fourth-year pro kicked off 2019-20 campaign with the Sabres, dressing in four games before eventually joining the Amerks to add to their defensive lineup.
Most players who begin the season in the NHL often have to go through an adjustment period when being faced with an AHL reassignment. For Gilmour, though, having been acclimated to the AHL’s style of play, it was an opportunity to continue what he started the year in Hartford and carry that success over to Rochester. More importantly, it was a chance to get back into the rhythm of things and play in some more hockey games.
WATCH: YEAR IN REVIEW WITH JOHN GILMOUR
“It was just about getting back into the rhythm of things. When I was in Buffalo I didn’t play too much, so I got the chance to come down and play some hockey games and get back into the rhythm of the American Hockey League grind,” said Gilmour.
Gilmour had no problem getting back into the grind of the AHL as he was a staple on the blueline from November through the end of the year. The Amerks defenseman saw time in 37 games, notching six goals and adding seven assists while acting as a veteran presence with his versatile experience.
Coming from a different organization that he spent the last three years with, Gilmour just wanted to help lead any of the younger guys with his different experience that he could bring to the table.
“I thought that I could help lead, just from my experience of coming from a different organization where I was kind of an older guy on a pretty young team.”
With experience also comes wisdom, something he wanted to impart on others in the hopes of helping them achieve their goals of getting to the NHL while also earning a return trip back for himself.
“The whole goal is to get guys from the AHL to the NHL, and that’s what we’re working for. I just wanted to grow within the team, help guys out and get myself back up to the National Hockey League.”
With Gilmour’s experience, his highly anticipated arrival to the Flower City was that of excitement as it added another top-tier defenseman to the Amerks roster. Between Gilmour and veteran Zach Redmond, Rochester’s lineup featured two of the AHL’s top three point-producing defensemen from the 2018-19 season, a duo that combined for 41 goals and 104 points that year. So the opportunity to see these two AHL All-Stars work together on the same roster added a wealth of experience to an already stealthy blueline.
Even though Gilmour has put up All-Star stats and broken franchise records in just his short time in the pros, he still admits on how hard it will be to fill the shoes of Redmond come next year.
“When you speak to a man and his character, he was kind of like a father figure in the room. He’s an excellent guy, guys respect him, tremendous player and has a wealth of experience with professional hockey, so to fill a guy’s shoes like that, it’s probably going to be very difficult to do.”
Speaking of the 2020-21 season, no one know when that may come around but what we do know is that all of the players are more than ready to get back to playing some hockey.
When asked what he was looking forward to most come next season Gilmour explained, “I’m just looking forward to the process – staying healthy, training, actually being able to get back on the ice full swing and I’m just looking forward to getting better myself.”