Wild Thing

In terms of scouting reports, Gilbert Brule got rave reviews. Even Redline report loved him and they hate everybody.

Here’s what Redline wrote about him before he was drafted: If Brule follows Sidney Crosby as the 2nd overall pick in the draft, it will be the first time since 1981 (Dale Hawerchuk & Doug Smith) the top two picks were both under 6-0. Size isn’t a concern with Brule, because he plays such a big game. At times, he’s actually physically dominating because of his fearless and abrasive style. And let’s not forget about his offensive skills, which are NHL calibre. Brule has one of the hardest, most accurate shots we’ve ever seen in the WHL. As close to the complete package as a 5-10 player can ever be.

ISS loved him too and he was drafted very high (6th overall) and in his 18-year old season dominated junior hockey (regular season and playoffs combined he went 45gp, 39-29-68 +19) and even got into 7 NHL games (2-2-4, -2).

In 06-07 (his 19-year old season) Brule played in 78 games, going 9-10-19. Those aren’t horrible numbers for a player that age and he did it in just over 10 minutes a game (830 minutes total). Although they were in different era, Ales Hemsky went 6-24-30 in 59 games and 712 total minutes at the same age. 19-year olds who survive an NHL season should be considered winners, let alone getting to 30 points. This past season he played even less. 603 minutes, 61gp, 1-8-9 -4.

He’s undersized for the style he plays and that has already resulted in injury. In his young NHL career, he’s already had a sternal clavicular sprain, a broken right leg and inflamed tonsils. The tonsils are one thing, the other two injuries are probably the result of a smaller man playing a very physical style and coming out second best. His faceoff number (51.3%) was good for his age in very limited action (78 faceoff) in 07-08, but it was only 45.9% in 268 tries the previous season.

Brule is a center who can play wing, a skill player who can play a physical style and a playmaker who can score goals. There are lots of things to like about him and he could have a wonderful camp and make this team. Holding him back will be a lack of consistency, his being an unknown quantity to a coach who often makes the safe roster choice to start the season and allows kids to prove themselves on the farm (this goes all the way back to Horcoff, who impressed the hell out of the organization fall 2000 before being sent down) and the fact that (just like Dan Cleary when he arrived here) this is a young man who has had a very difficult two years trying to find his way and has been a victim of an organization that doesn’t know what the hell they’re doing.

The Oilers are very likely to send him down to the AHL, have him gain confidence and recall him once he’s kicking out the jams.

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28 Responses to "Wild Thing"

  1. knighttown says:

    LT. Not to thread hi-jack but I’m wondering what your rules are for non-linkable information. I had a neat conversation with a Canuck higher up during a Celeb Golf Event the other day. I posted a little on HF but had to leave the good stuff out. I know you have a positive reputation and I don’t want to jeopardize that.

  2. Coach pb9617 says:

    So Brule is a more expensive version of Glencross?

  3. s0undwave says:

    Brule would have to go through waivers to be sent down and subsequently re-called. Reason being is he is a 21 year old who has played more than 80 NHL games.

    At least that’s what I understand from Article 13 in the CBA.

  4. DBO says:

    Am i crazy or did the Team 1260 guys just say we signed jason Strudwick? Maybe the coffee hasn’t kicked in yet, but I’m sure they just said he was signed, and wondering if he was the team toughness guy who can play D and LW, and be a great utility guy?

    As for Brule, I really hope he sticks around, just because he’s a better version of Glencross and will bring some nice things to the lineup. Think Reddoz with more skill but less size. this guy can be a miny Peca.

  5. Oilman says:

    I believe the way to interpret that chart in the CBA is that if a player signed as an 18 year old are exempt for waivers until they have either played in 160 games or are 5 years removed from the first contract. Brule has played 146 games in the NHL so I think he is exempt from waivers until he plays 14 more.

  6. Sean says:

    I haven’t seen Brule play more than 10 minutes but I remember him being a real prick.

    Who do we have for comparables? I’ve heard Peca or Fleury but is he more realistically Cooke or (uh uh) Torres?

  7. namflashback says:

    pb9617

    Brule makes much less than Curtis Glencross. Has more NHL games too.

  8. Oilman says:

    Brule makes slightly more than Glencross – because of his bonuses

  9. jd says:

    dbo you were hearing right. It’s unconfirmed as of right now though…

  10. melanie... says:

    Just got a sportsnet update saying the Oilers signed Strudwick too….

    I’m not sure what he brings in the toughness department….

  11. sir john a. says:

    I’ve heard Mike Fisher is a decent Brule comparable.

  12. Traktor says:

    Mike Fisher is a great comparison.

  13. CM says:

    any one know the dollar amount for strudwick?

  14. Showerhead says:

    Re: Brule, I am reading a lot about how the best course of action is for him to play in the A until he gets his feet back under him. Lots of great points (many from LT) have also been made about how crucial playing time and games played are in terms of development for NHL prospects. Finally, I have always been a proponent of allowing young players to excel at one developmental stage before they are asked to tread water at the next.

    I clearly agree he should play in the A. My open question is this: just how long will it take? I’d like to hope I’m being conservative when I suggest most or all of a season would be enough for me to get an impression of what we have. Who wants to play the guessing game? We could start a pool :)

  15. spOILer says:

    Be nice if we could break Strudwick’s numbers out by winger and defense on behind the net.

    I’m now sure how much D he actually played, but he did cover when Malik was hurt and maybe for others, so he could have a fair number of minutes.

    BTN has him against easy comp with crap linemates, so likely 4th vs 4th matchups when he was winging it.
    His 5 on 5 GAON/60 is excellent at 1.67, although scoring appears to be a real struggle.

    He’s a vet, can play F and D, doesn’t bleed goals against in appropriate match-ups and is an OK fighter. Useful and likely cheap.

    But what does this mean for the Flying Stortini? Or Roy for that matter?

  16. Ducey says:

    Behind the net for 5 on 5:

    Brule -.41
    Brodziak -.37
    Gagne -.69

  17. IceDragoon says:

    Good day.

    For anyone interested…

    Prendergast on Pouliot, Jacques & Brule @
    http://www.justagame.ca/index.php

    I happened to glance at Bob McKenzie’s Top 10 for the ’05 Draft and then at the number of NHL games played by these young men so far. Anze Kopitar, Marc Staal and Ryan O’Marra, broadened my scope to the top 15 drafted. And since you cite Redline, I tossed their ranking in too.

    in the order of NHL games played.
    left to right:
    drafted – RLR – Bob’s Top Ten – position – player – regular season/playoff

    1 – 1 – 1 – F – SidneyCrosby – 213/25
    11 – 3 – 5 – F – Anze Kopitar – 154
    6 – 4 – 6 – F – Gilbert Brule – 146
    12 – 15 – 8 – D – Marc Staal – 80/10
    3 – 2 – 2 – D – Jack Johnson – 79
    8 – * – * – F – Devin Setoguchi – 44/9
    5 – 13 – 7 – G – Carey Price – 41/11
    10 – * – * – D – Luc Bourdon – 36
    2 – 5 – 4 – F – Bobby Ryan – 23/2
    7 – 12 – 9 – F – Jack Skille – 16
    4 – 7 – 3 – F – Benoit Pouliot – 14/1
    9 – * – * – D – Brian Lee – 6/4
    13 – 9 – * – F – Marek Zagrapan – 0
    14 – * – * – D – Sasha Pokulok – 0
    15 – 11 – 10 – F – Ryan O’Marra – 0

    No matter how you slice it, Brule has 146 games of NHL experience. Prendergast’s comments about him playing in the ‘A’ this year, may have something to do with that number, perhaps as much as Brule ‘finding his game’.

    The kid’s got smarts and pedigree going for him, too. I’ll try to keep an eye on him at TC.

    On Strudwick:

    Not the end of the bench I was hoping for, but he’s a 33 year old kid, who can be comfy in the PB and draw a timely pound of flesh for a teammate when necessary. A dammed fine fit for a young team, imho.

    L8r
    Louise

  18. Dennis says:

    Strudwick was 15/17 last year playing in the bottom pairing for the Rags. Very low event and posted a good GAON/60.

    He’s a good piece of insurance for a D that features three vets — one of whom is injury prone — and three kids, one of whom might need a seat in the pressbox every now and then.

    A good 7th D; he also spells the end of Roy’s career as an Oiler. Mathieu will be put on waivers at the end of camp — if he’s not already dealt — and he might even be bought out if the Oilers really want to feed the SF time to kids like Peckam-Chorney-Wild-Bisallion. Then again, maybe Roy would be a good vet to bring them along.

    In any case, he’s done as an Oiler and good signing by Lowe.

  19. Lord Bob says:

    And somewhere in Siberia, Igor Ulanov sits beside the phone, waiting expectantly.

  20. oilersfan says:

    for how much money?

  21. oilersfan says:

    here is hoping they sign Andre Roy next, then the only question is do they sign Reasoner or a different faceoff expert like Perrault?

  22. Dennis says:

    Folks should check out that link provided by Louise.

    KP’s an incorrigible blue sky miner and/or bullshit artist but here’s a sampling of what he said:

    - Pouliot’s now ready for any kind of role the Oilers give him; Gregor was trying to get him to say 78 had to change his line of thinking and accept a checking position but KP said a lot of kids go through the thing where they have to accept the possibility of different roles and that, and now I’m paraphrasing, given that 78 played in all kinds of spots last year, he should be ready for anything they offer him.

    - this wasn’t connected but once Gregor got to talking about this coming year’s team, he mentioned the possibility of Brule battling 51 for the 4th line pivot spot and KP didn’t interject to say 51 could rise higher; he just said Brule would most likely start the year in the A. Is this a hint that 78 Will get first crack at the third line?

    - speaking of lines, KP said it’s between 26-27 for the first line LW spot and that with the second line being set — the kids — the loser of the first line battle would play on the third line but both would see PP time on different units.

    - he mentioned JFJ’s back has been responding to treatment to the point where he might be ready to make a push for a spot and mentioned how LW looked beefy now with 26-12-27-18-JFJ on that side. He also said everyone — up to and including Lowe — had spoken to JFJ about the idea that his role on the big club will be as a 4th liner banger and that the kid seemed committed to the idea.

  23. Dennis says:

    Also worth nothing that PK threw out the Peca comparison for Brule and is that in the least accurate???

    KP tells tonnes of lies and I haven’t seen enough of Brule to comment.

  24. IceDragoon says:

    Dennis:

    Here’s some of Pouliot’s comments.

    http://www.edmontonsun.com/Sports/Oilers/2008/07/10/6116086-sun.html

    “I feel great that the Oilers still have interest in me,” Pouliot said. “I know I have a lot to prove this year, but I feel good and I feel even better knowing that they wanted me to sign for another two years.”

    “I think I showed at the end of last year that I can play in every role,” he said.

    “I think I improved a lot last year in comparison to the beginning of the year. I think that helped a lot getting a new contract.

    “I think they believe in me that I can get the job done.”

    “I want to make an impact this year,” he said. “I know I’m not going to start on the first line, but I want to prove that I can play some good minutes wherever they put me, whether it be the penalty-kill or the power play.

    “I want to be a go-to guy that they can trust in any situation.”

    He’s saying all the right things.

  25. IceDragoon says:

    Dennis: Also worth nothing that PK threw out the Peca comparison for Brule and is that in the least accurate???

    He’s in the IQ range, but we could say that about the rest of our centres, too.
    :-D

  26. IceDragoon says:

    http://www.edmontonsun.com/Sports/
    Oilers/2008/07/10/6116086-sun.html

    rrr… remove the space.

  27. Oilman says:

    The Peca/Brule comparison is fair based on their junior achievements no? Big time scorers, a little small, hit everything that moved. Peca came into the league at a time where being a smaller guy was much more a challenge to make it in the NHL which may have impacted his draft position. But Brule is pretty much the same size and plays a bigger mans game too.

    I remember reading something about Peca where a scout was explaining that he was the hardest hitter he’d ever seen in Junior….the GM/Coach/whoever he was explaining this to said “you mean for his size”, and the scout said, “No. Ever!” I wonder if anyone had ever said anything like that re: Brule?

  28. Bruce says:

    Becoming his status as a little guy who hits, Mike Peca is the only guy I’ve ever seen who twice (!) broke his own face delivering a bodycheck. Saw ‘em both: one was on Teemu Selanne in one of the ten or so hardest hits I’ve ever seen; the other was at the World Championships where he stayed on his feet and scored a goal seconds after the hit, then skated off the ice and out of the tourney. Canada’s hopes of winning pretty much flew home with him.

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