Left-winger Greg Gilbert played over 800 NHL games with four different clubs in the 80s and 90s. He possessed above average offensive talent but carved a niche for himself as a big leaguer based on stellar defensive work and leadership skills.
Born in Mississauga, Ontario, Gilbert scored nearly 200 points in three seasons with the Toronto Marlboros of the OHA/OHL. He was chosen 80th overall by the New York Islanders in 1980 then returned to junior to continue his development. He began the 1982-83 season with the CHL's Indianapolis Checkers then was recalled to the parent club a third of the way through the schedule.
Gilbert looked solid while playing ten playoff games to help the Islanders win their fourth straight Stanley Cup. The next season he scored 31 goals while playing...and aided the club's drive to the final where they lost to the Edmonton Oilers. Gilbert eventually settled into a checking role on the club as it began to rebuild in the mid-80s.
Prior to the trade deadline in March, 1989 Gilbert was sent to the Chicago Black Hawks. He fit in well under the close-checking systems of Mike Keenan and Darryl Sutter. In 1992 he was an important role player on the Hawks when they drove all the way to the Stanley Cup final. The veteran winger was signed as a free agent by the New York Rangers prior to the 1993-94 season then contributed to the franchise's first Stanley Cup triumph. Gilbert played parts of two seasons with the St. Louis Blues before ending his career in 1995-96.
Immediately after hanging up his skates, Gilbert opted to stay in the game as a coach. Beginning in 1996-97 he spent four years behind the bench of the AHL's Worcester Ice Cats. That first year he led the club to a first place finish in the New England Division, was named the AHL's top coach and The Sporting News minor league coach of the year. After leading the Ice Cats to the post-season every year he coached the club, Gilbert joined the Calgary Flames as an assistant coach prior to the 2000-01 season. On March 14, 2001 he replaced Don Hay as the team's head coach for the last 14 games of the season and then went on to coach the club for the better part of the next two seasons. Upon being replaced midseason by the Flames, Gilbert went on to become the head coach of the OHL's Mississauga Ice Dogs.