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Dennis Gilbert Set For NHL Debut With Chicago

The former Irish defenseman will suit up with the Blackhawks, who play the Blues on Wednesday night (NBCSN)

CHICAGO — The Chicago Blackhawks have recalled former Fighting Irish defenseman Dennis Gilbert from Rockford (AHL) and the Buffalo, N.Y. native is expected to make his NHL debut Wednesday night when St. Louis visits the United Center for an 8 p.m. ET game on NBCSN.

In his first professional season, Gilbert has played in 59 games for Rockford while scoring five goals and adding nine assists for 14 points. He also has 65 penalty minutes on the year.

Gilbert will become the 11th former Notre Dame player to appear in the NHL this season, a program-record total. He will also become head coach Jeff Jackson‘s 20th Fighting Irish player to make the NHL and the 34th in program history.

Gilbert originally turned pro last spring when he signed a three-year deal that began with the 2018-19 season. He was a third round selection (91st overall) by Chicago in the 2015 NHL draft.

During his three seasons with Notre Dame, Gilbert was a key member on the Irish blue line and helped Notre Dame to back-to-back Frozen Four appearances in 2017 and 2018, culminating in 2018’s NCAA title game appearance. He also was a part of Notre Dame’s 2017-18 Big Ten regular season and tournament championship squads.

Gilbert played in 116 games with the Irish, totaling six goals and 36 assists for 42 points. Playing as one of Notre Dame’s shutdown defenseman in 2017-18, he skated in 39 of 40 games, scored two shorthanded goals and added six assists. He was the only defenseman in the country with multiple shorthanded goal last season and he led the team with 88 blocked shots, which also ranked tied for third in the NCAA.

Gilbert was named the Hockey East’s Best Defensive Defenseman in 2017 and was also honored as a 2017 Hockey East Third Team All-Star. He is a political science major in the college of Arts and Letters and still working towards graduating from the University.


  • Gilbert will become the 11th former Notre Dame player to appear in the NHL this season, joining Anders Bjork (Boston), Ian Cole (Colorado), Erik Condra (Dallas), Steven Fogarty (New York Rangers), Vinnie Hinostroza (Arizona), Anders Lee (New York Islanders), Kyle Palmieri (New Jersey), Cal Petersen (Los Angeles), Bryan Rust (Pittsburgh) and Riley Sheahan (Pittsburgh & traded to Florida).
  • The 11 former players to skate in the NHL this season sets a Notre Dame hockey program record.
  • Gilbert will become head coach Jeff Jackson‘s 20th former Fighting Irish player to reach the NHL.
  • Gilbert will be the 34th former Notre Dame player overall to play in the NHL
  • The most recent Fighting Irish player to make his NHL debut was Los Angeles goaltender Cal Petersen (Nov. 13, 2018).