When Islanders forward Trevor Gillies made his mark on the NHL season last year, it was done at the expense of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the middle of an on-ice fiasco back in February. In that game, Gillies delivered a brutal shot to the head of Eric Tangradi that left Tangradi knocked out cold on the ice.
The lasting image from that game saw Gillies standing at the doors as he was being sent off continuing to taunt and berate Tangradi. Those actions were followed up by a nine game suspension. Upon Gillies return from that he delivered a head shot to Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild, a shot that earned Gillies a ten game ban.
After all of that and the negative PR associated with it, the Islanders and GM Garth Snow are giving Gillies another shot. New York re-signed Gillies to a one-year, two way contract that will see him either grow up and learn how to play physically the right way in the NHL or see him (most likely) stashed away in the AHL where he’ll wait his chance to make his mark on the NHL again.
The money isn’t known on Gillies’ deal but he made just $500,000 last season, the league minimum, when he was in the NHL. Gillies’ role in the NHL is to be intimidating and to be physical, but his reputation is now etched in stone as a guy who will deliver a dirty hit or a questionable hit to try and help his team.
Of course, our definitions of “help” may be different in how we see it and the Islanders see it. All eyes will be on him when he does suit up for the Islanders and any even slightly eyebrow-raising hit he delivers will be scrutinized. Let’s just hope that Gillies has learned from all the nonsense he unleashed last year and that the Islanders have a better idea of what they’re dealing with.