RE 09-10: Gilbert Brule

Let’s agree we’re never going to mention where Gilbert Brule was taken in the draft ever again.

Ever.

Gilbert Brule had an average season in the American Hockey League. Don’t take my word for it, Jonathan Willis told you here.

PLUS the “saw him good” crowd have chimed in with the same opinion. Steve Tambellini spoke about Brule’s season earlier this week:

  • “I wasn’t displeased with his AHL season, but I think he could have been a lot better.”

You get that kind of review from the boss and you better head to camp Mandelbaum for the summer. The math on Brule isn’t terribly encouraging: he’s small (5.10, 180 according to the Oilers) and with most players who are undersized and play with abandon he has a long injury history. Broken legs, sternal clavicular sprain–these aren’t groin pulls–speak to his courage but Brule’s development has been clouded (as with Pouliot) by these injuries. His GP totals run in fits and starts, and that’s without the “Dan Cleary in Chicago” treatment given by this generation’s Sam Pollock (Doug MacLean).

Earlier this week, the Oilers signed Brule to a 1-year, two-way contract for $800,000. We know from reading the steeped-tea leaves that Pat Quinn knows him from the Giants days and that there are some waiver concerns in the ether.

We also know that the things that concern us now were there on draft day. Redline: 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.

  • Boxcars: 11gp, 2-1-3, 12pims
  • Shots: 13
  • Plus Minus: -3
  • Corsi: -18.6
  • GF/GA ON: 3-6
  • 5×5/60: 1.74
  • 5×4/60: 0.00
  • Quality of Competition: 3rd level
  • Quality of Teammates: 2nd level
  • FO %: 80% on 5 sorties
  • 09-10 Cap Hit: $.800k (capgeek)
  1. What do these numbers tell us? Not much, there’s just not enough at-bats to draw a conclusion. His Desjardins NHLE number from the Falcon season (82gp, 13-11-24) suggests he might bring some goal-scoring to the 4line if healthy but that’s not a very tangible conclusion.
  2. How could the numbers be better? We need more, this is too small a sample. The Straight Jackets seasons aren’t terribly useful because the kid was bleeding out.
  3. What about Pouliot? They have some things in common: disappointing draft picks, injuries and a rumbling, tumbling, stumbling beginning to their careers. A good guess would be that one will make it and the other will be learning a new trade.
  4. What about a 4th “energy line”? Brule’s best chance at a big league job is identical to the way Daniel Cleary made the show: a Bulldog line. Should he come in and show chemistry with some of the Falcons (Stone, Potulny, Schremp) the entire line might get hired ala Cleary-Riesen-Swanson fall 2000.
  5. Will Quinn play him? I think hockey men are always interested in lottery picks who haven’t delivered. Quinn could be a hero based on getting a full season of quality from Brule alone and that might be on his list of “things to do” this winter in Edmonton. I’m kind of joking but then again not really: confidence is an amazing thing, and should Quinn look this kid square in the eyes and say “you’re a hometown boy and this is your chance” we might get a season that math couldn’t predict.
  6. What Else? Man he’ll need to deliver some things to cover that trade. The Torres deal came on the heels of the Viz trade if I recall correctly and represented a major roster shift in a few short hours.
  7. How Important is Brule to this team? Not at all. If he rips his knee up in TC it’ll be a sad story for him but this is house money at this point.

Prediction for 2009-10: 55gp, 7-8-15 (.273 per game)

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