Okay Brule?

Gilbert Brule’s numbers so far this season (and I know it’s early) are pretty damn good. His boxcars (6gp, 3-2-5 +2) are rock solid, although he may owe some (or more) to his linemates. According to Gabriel Desjardins, Brule is in the best possible spot for a forward (soft parade, quality linemates). His faceoff percentage (46.9) isn’t terrible and he’s playing a physical game.

On the other hand, Brule (to the naked eye) has made some errors both in positioning and execution. With the injury to Marc Pouliot looking long term and only Fernando Pisani (a winger) looking for a roster spot anytime soon it looks like Brule will get another 100 at-bats to prove himself to Quinn and the Oilers.

Assuming he’ll get 20 full games before the Oilers pull the trigger (and they have other issues up front so the gp total may be longer), has Brule shown enough in the first 6 games of the season that we can safely say he’s here to stay?

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49 Responses to "Okay Brule?"

  1. Schitzo says:

    If not here to stay, at least inflating his value enough to make him a worthwhile throw-in to a larger deal.

  2. Black Dog says:

    Its early but and I for one am not greatly impressed but I would still say yes. He has not played himself out of a spot, lets say that for starters, unlike Jacques whose hold on the top line LW is tenuous, if even that.

    If they drop JFJ in the lineup then I would have to say that spot goes to either Penner or O'Sullivan or Cogliano. Take your pick. Then you have a ripple effect.

    The problem is dropping Jacques down the depth chart means a hole on one of the other lines. Now Brule might be effective with Stortini and Moreau. Or maybe once Pisani comes back you have him move to Brule's right.

    However you slice it he is in good shape and the fact that he is a centre helps him greatly. Once Pisani comes back (or if they slot Nilsson in) its a winger who is going to take the hit.

  3. Schitzo says:

    Would Pisani fit at 1LW? That would solve some questions on the first line and not displace anyone else.

  4. jdrevenge says:

    I think we might be finally seeing the direction that Tambo is sailing this ship. It's youth.

    IMO he was right to look within the organization for plugs and not panic. Early? yes, but for the most part the young guys are showing that they can be the future nucleus of a very solid team.

    I'm scared to say that I'm becoming optimistic. This could be heartbreak city all over again but I think I'm healed and ready to move on.

  5. kris says:

    Weird player. Lot's of tools, especially speed and a big shot. Great first step.

    But sometimes he still looks like a junior player. I remember a breakout from last night where he blew a 6 foot pass badly, even though he was under no pressure at all. Out of position. Not really creative enough. (I think the hits aren't working for him all the time since he's too small and often puts himself out of position.)

    Everything wrong with his game seems fixable, but I don't think he's fixed it yet. I think he's our permanent 4th line center soon. That's a role he can succeed in.

    Tough minutes, not so much.

    That said, I'm always suprised there are no Brule boosters like there were Schremp boosters. Even Nilsson's got some fans around here.

    Brule has great pedigree, better than Schremp's. So why no fans who think he's the cat's knees or the bee's ass or whatever?

  6. Lowetide says:

    kris: He hasn't clanged a few off the goalpost yet. Until he does that, we can't be sure he's an Oiler.

  7. Schitzo says:

    kris: Youtube, thongs, take your pick

  8. Mr DeBakey says:

    Fuckin' Black Dog
    I agree with him again
    Every goddamn time.

    Its like my mind is an open book.
    He just reads away.
    Then writes it down.

  9. Schitzo says:

    and I need you nowwwww tonight
    I fucking need you more than ever

  10. Lowetide says:

    "Who's going to drive you home, tonight?"

  11. Hawerchuk says:

    It's not the perfect storm of linemates, competition and territory, btw:


    He's at the bottom for offensive zone faceoffs…

  12. Lowetide says:

    Hawerchuk: Stortini is lower, no? I think (unless reading it wrong) he's in a pretty nice slot currently.


  13. knighttown says:

    He's much faster than I thought and as Kris says, he's got a great first step. Sure there have been some mistakes but as the boxcars show, they've been few and far between.

    He got shitcanned for that Gionta goal the other night but I see that as a brilliant play by Gio rather than a huge miscue by Gilbert. Got the pass with a ton of speed coming up the middle against a man standing still. Six times out of ten he makes that guy look like a pilon, three times out of ten there is some sort of broken rush that just causes a reset and one time in ten you get stripped clean and the puck is in your net.

    If you don't take those odds you play in the AHL…unless the guy standing still is Pavel Datsyuk who flips the odds upside-down.

  14. FlamingPavelBure says:

    Yes definitly, i have been super impressed by Brulé.

    As for the Quality of Linemates and soft parade, it's a pretty stupid metric in a season debut. Since with few games, it's largely relative to your performance.

    (You get more points teamates also do, and the opposition gets a minus)

    Just get stone the heck out of there and put Nilsson in.

  15. Kevin says:

    Okay, I'll be the Brule booster. I love the guy. Sure, he has had some positional problems, and Penner has clearly been the locomotive for Brule's boxcar, but the man was a force with the Giants. Normal humans had a position, Brule had a cause.

    I really love watching him on the Oil – the trade for Torres (who I never liked despite his obvious talent) was one of my favorite days as a permanently grumpy Oilers fans. I hope he stays forever. The guy can roll, and he's only going to get better.

    As a nod to my own pessimism, I still fear that he's going to get buried when they trade Smid for Andrew Murray in their pursuit of Toronto level 'truculence' and we'll be forever talking about what could have been with this guy. I hope they keep him insulated this season and see if they can coax him to be the player we thought he would be when he was drafted, only to ride him to 8 consecutive pennants (just thought I should step up the booster-ing).

  16. Lowetide says:

    FPB: I think the Oilers will keep Stone and Jacques in the lineup, it seems to be working at some level.

    I do think one of the smaller forwards (maybe Gagner or Comrie) may end up sitting sometime soon.

  17. raventalon40 says:

    O'Sullivan has also shown that he's a good player, thus far this season.

    Unless the Oilers make a huge splash in their next personnel change, I would expect the trade to be a simple dumping or Nilsson or MacIntyre – because too many men can now fill their skates.

  18. FlamingPavelBure says:

    LT: Am i the only one thinking it's painful to see them play each day, and pretty much screw up what the other players are setting up?

  19. Lowetide says:

    FPB: Well I think the problem isn't so much Jacques and Stone it's the fact that the Oilers have so many small forwards.

    Perhaps the Oilers could take out Stone and insert Nilsson, but it changes the makeup of one of the lines.

    That's why I've stated all along that Nilsson is vulnerable. Chances are that if Jacques moves down the depth chart the coach will ask for another big man as opposed to giving Nilsson the job.

  20. FlamingPavelBure says:

    Well that pretty much confirms my pre-season theory that the dice were rolled before anything actually happened for Nilsson.

    If he doesn't jump in instead of Nilsson, i will close the book on the case, and on any toughts that the Oilers will actually make it to the post-season.

    Favorising players with a specific carateristic over others that are playing a vastly superior game, is an attitude i despise for coaches in hockey.

    I saw it with the Habs last year and was victim of that a great part of my minor hockey career.

  21. Lowetide says:

    You can't play 9 small forwards. In the early 60's the Habs had a bunch of HOFers and a bunch pretty near but all of them (save Beliveau) were shrimps.

    What did they do? Hire John Ferguson.

  22. Woodguy says:

    Is Brule here to stay?


    Until something better comes along.

    I actually think he's here to stay past the NEXT BIG TRADE (NBT), because the NBT involves a puck moving D, Gags/Cogs + very good prospect for a very good forward.

    Brule is none of those things, and will be needed to fill 3C/4C after the trade.

    Current Oilers Centers:



    When OTC moved Comrie to wing he was quoted as saying (paraphrased) "I guess he was signed to play the wing, so he's gonna play the wing"

    That tells that TambLowe* asked for the change. (*as long as Kevin Lowe is a senior manager of this team I will not discount his influence, ever)

    Up until that point OTC was playing 13 on the wing, where he belongs IMHO.

    Interesting stat o' the day:

    Oiler faceoff % (25 faceoffs +)

    Comrie 26 FO 57.7%
    Horcoff 137 FO 57.7%
    Cogliano 28 FO 50%
    Brule 4 FO 46.9%
    O'Sully 30 FO 43.3%
    Gagner 44 FO 34.1%

    I think OTC wanted to keep Comrie at C, but TambLowe brought the hammer down and said "THOU SHALT PLAY COGLIANO AT CENTER", and so it was, and it was meh.

    Until this organization either trades one of Cogs/Gags or puts Cogs on the wing to stay, it will be weak down the middle. Image if you coached these guys when they were younger?!?!

    Brule has nothing to worry about until Poo becomes solid…and even then he'll probably float.

  23. FlamingPavelBure says:

    LT: As i posted in earlier topics, those Cup winning Canes, didn't have such a bigger size.

    Maybe you can't play 9 schrimps, but you can't get far with 2 one trick Ponys in your top 9.

  24. Bruce says:

    Good stuff Woodguy. Gagner has really struggled on the dot. 0/6 last night as both Madden and Toews ate Sam's lunch.

  25. Woodguy says:

    Just a note on THE NEXT BIG TRADE.

    This organization has continually been after Big Game.

    I truly believe that there will be no middling trade with these guys.

    Its go big or go home.

    They know they have an abundance of the coveted Puck Moving Defenseman.

    They know that Cogs and Gags cannot occupy the same space in time. (as seen in Heatley trade V1.0).

    They hunt big game, have their powder dry and want to pull the trigger.

    It wouldn't surprise me that they've offered Darcy Regier Gilbert, Cogs, Eberle, & Chorney for Vanek.

    The Oilers also have the likes of Eberle, Nash, Petry, Peckham, Chorney, Omark, Motin, Cornet, Lander, Dubnyk to round out trades as well, don't discount prospect depth to help make a trade. (I think MPS is untouchable)

    I think they are going to get a 1st line guy and move a bunch of young quality (both in the NHL and not) in the process.

    I really hope they make the right move.

  26. Gerta Rauss says:

    Nice posts Woodguy.

    I agree re:NBT..something has got to give here.

    Big trade,small trade,I don't know.But I just can't imagine Quinn having the patience to wait until the trade deadline before Tamblowe does something.

    And it's been mentioned in this thread-if you start tugging at the makeup of this team(2 skill 1 crust) the whole thing unravels.

  27. edmontonhockeyblog says:

    FPB, I hear what you're saying regarding Nilsson. Though I liked the idea of a player like Stone–perhaps more so than Stone himself, it is somehow painful to watch him play (while a better player rides the pine). Forget the fact that his physical presence has contributed a whopping 2 hits over the past two games.

    On the other hand how long can we expect the Oilers to continue to pay Nilsson $2million cap hit to ride said pine?

  28. edmontonhockeyblog says:

    Oh, one unrelated question… I lived in the States for the past three years until recently. As such,I missed out a bit on some of the decision making process of the Oilers. Why is it that Quinn and before him MacT, stopped using Horcoff on the shootout? He had a surprisingly good 5/9 record, then it seems like he's been passed by players like Gagner in the selection?

  29. Schitzo says:

    Wow, looking at the faceoffs, it's just one more indicator that Horc is going to get his bag worked off this year.

  30. pboy says:

    FPB: You realize of course, that Nilsson is also a 1 trick pony. What LT has been saying for that last couple of months or so, is that Nilsson skill set is duplicated up and down the line-up and the players ahead of him have either a better pedigree or the Oilers have more invested in their future.

    Who's ahead of Nilsson: Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Mike Comrie & Patrick O'Sullivan.

    Gagner and Cogliano are both younger than Nilsson, they were both drafted by the Oilers (this matters to the organization), they have scored more in their relatively short careers and their NHL careers are tracking better. Mike Comrie has been a proven scorer and playmaker in the NHL and he's the only guy on the roster who has scored 30+ goals in the NHL. Patrick O'Sullivan is a shooter and has scored over 20 goals in the NHL.

    Let's look at the following players:
    Hemsky, Horcoff, Penner, Pisani, Moreau and Stortini are regulars who play either play different positions than Nilsson or they have roles on the Oilers that Nilsson can't fill in for.

    Stone and Jacques, while they might not be favorites of yours, bring a skillset to the Oilers that isn't duplicated up and down the roster. They have big bodies that they aren't afraid to use and they make the little simple plays that add up at the end of a game. You can't really sub Nilsson in for either of these guys for any length of time because you just can't run a team out there night after night with 5 or 6 small, skill players.

    Robert Nilsson will get an opportunity to play at some point this season and he better make the most of his icetime. He needs to create offense for his teammates but he needs to also be solid in his own end and do whatever it takes to make sure his scoresheet shows a + at the end of the day. Anything less and his time in Edmonton will be on life support.

  31. raventalon40 says:

    If you're a one-trick pony it depends on how good you are at your job. Ales Hemsky would never be mistaken for PJ Axelsson, because their bag o' tricks is completely different. Same thing for Jacques and Nilsson.

    Nilsson hasn't shown enough either by picking up "more tricks" for his bag nor by playing superior to those already in the lineup and to those who are making less money than him.

  32. Bookie says:

    Why is it that Quinn and before him MacT, stopped using Horcoff on the shootout? He had a surprisingly good 5/9 record, then it seems like he's been passed by players like Gagner in the selection?

    I have often wondered why the coaches pick who they do. Success in actual shootouts does not seem to be too important. I remember MacT once saying that he asked his own goalies.

  33. Woodguy says:

    I have often wondered why the coaches pick who they do. Success in actual shootouts does not seem to be too important. I remember MacT once saying that he asked his own goalies.

    My understanding of it is that they practice it occasionally, and pick the best of the best from that exercise.

    MacTV would also throw in a guy who'd been hot in the game too, or use gut feeling (i.e. Pisani, who is a very solid 6/13, as opposed to Vanek who is 6/29)

    I think shoot outs are voodoo akin to predicting goaltender success.

  34. rider guy says:

    re: shootouts…

    I've wondered about the lack of 10 as well. For a brief time, he was a fixture in the shootout and had success coming in at top speed and shooting five hole. He scored a bunch of goals doing the same thing. 89 made a couple goalies look stupid a couple years ago (here's looking at you Jiggy) and seems to have the first spot locked up in the shootout even though his numbers border on awful after his first handful of chances. Somebody maybe ought to buy OTC a PVR so he can watch 89's lack of recent success in the skills competition.

    Even more than Horcoff though, what this team could really use in the shootout is Rob Schremp!!

  35. Dennis says:

    Kris did a great job of summing up the early career enigma that has been 67. He's a fun guy to watch and you wonder why he isn't better but it's not just the play that gave Gionta the 3-1 goal the other night; he made the same one last night in Chi but was lucky the puck didn't find it's way in the net.

    I haven't mentioned this yet but given the other like-minded guys who've already gotten a toe-hold, I can't see 12 getting back into the lineup. I imagine they haven't moved him yet because they don't have to, no one wants his contract or they want the depth but outside of a couple of injuries, I can't see any way how this guy plays for Pat Quinn when Mr. Onion Belt already has guys like 13-19-89 that's he trying to break in.

  36. Racki says:

    I'm not overly infatuated with Brule like some are, but I do not want to lose him for nothing. He has shown some pretty good chemistry with Penner (mind you, who doesn't see a boost in their play with him), and has some potential there. I have been hearing some people suggest he should be on the top line, and to me that's crazy. But I'd rather have him here than Pouliot. Although I'd like to see Pouliot play under Quinn before really making that decision though. Unfortunately I'm not so sure that will happen.

  37. Marc says:

    I think the guy to look at when trying to predict how the organisation will deal with Brule is Grebs. Both are first round picks with great skill sets that have been badly handled by other teams. It took Grebs more than a year to start to get it, but they stuck with him, gave him time and lived with his mistakes. Now he's one of the best players on the team. I think that's what we can expect with Brule.

  38. Marc says:

    Or at least that's how I think he'll be handled. Whether it will pay off the same way as it has with Grebs is another question.

  39. Oilmaniac says:

    "THOU SHALT PLAY COGLIANO AT CENTER", and so it was, and it was meh.

    funny, but c'mon, nice roof daddy goal the other night. The moreau storts line is working.. last time this team had a fully functional fourth line they almost made the playoffs outa no where

    Big – IF – nilsson could bring together his 2-way game and intensity (puck pressure) then I could see him as an offensive contributor to a defensive 3rd line. That could be totally delusional… Pisani doesnt hit but is big enough to contest most players!? nilsson could suffer under that measure…

  40. Satisfied_to_Ignore says:

    brule is solid. coaching doesn't affect the cap, so bring in a faceoff coach to help these guys like Oats did Stoll and Reasoner in days gone by. keep playing brule in 3 or 4 center all year and move him up when he is hot. so he was 6 overall, he may just be a really good checking center and that is fine too.

    Hemsky doesn't fit the Quinn oilers. trade for horton or sharp or someone of that ilk. Obviously more involved if it is sharp, but still, point is hemsky is a pre madonna who fancies that he has to be the best player on this team, cause everyone tells him he is, but he can't be as good as he should be cause he doesn't have a scoring winger, cause that is what everyone keeps saying, so it must be true. so he sulks, half tries and doesn't listen to the coaches new systems. Move him please!

    Stone is useless. he can hit, but he doesn't, he can't take a pass, won't dump it in and couldn't stick handle around the faceoff dot. I think there are guys better than him at my hockey, and that is pathetic. put in nilsson, he is a better hockey player period. he doesn't have to go in the same spot that stone is in, but him in the lineup makes us better than stone in the lineup.

  41. raventalon40 says:

    Hemsky is a premadonna at times, without a noticeable forecheck and plays without desire a lot of the time. But that being said, I don't think it can be argued that Hemsky isn't our best player. You might be able to say that Visnovsky and Souray are just as good or slightly better.

    I'm unconvinced that Hemsky can't kick his funk with all this new mentorship in the locker room.

  42. knighttown says:


    It's become the norm to blast Brule for that Gionta goal and after your comments I went back to have another look. Sure, the result was bad but I still think the "play" was the right one to make. Blazing speed up the middle, walks around Gomez and Gionta picks him clean. Just a fantastic play by Gio and if Brule ever wants to produce at this level he needs to make those plays.

    Maybe have another look…


  43. NBOilerFan says:

    I have been a Brule supporter from before TC and have been very happy so far with his play. He is doing enough, he's been good at faceoffs, and been decent at playing a solid agressive style of play, which has earned him enough points to keep around for some time. He may end up being part of a trade deal, but if not, he needs to continue to improve becauyse at this point, once Pouliot comes back I think they are still a wash as I think Brule plays a bit more agressive play and goes to the net a bit harder, whereas Pouliot is a bit more of a passer and playmaker type.

    I think they both are valuable to keep on the long term and agree that one of the wingers has to go. Brule or Pouliot can be subbed intop teh wing, easy then a winger to center.

    As far as Nilsson and Jacques discussion… I wanted teh Oielrs to resign Kotalik and that is another mistake they made. He would look a hell of a lot better on teh 1LW then Jacques. He has the offensive ability, plus he is 225 pounds and although not teh hitter that Jacques might be, he does throw his weight around… he had 121 hits in 75 games last year, that would have ranked him 3rd on the Oilers for hits). Plus he is gold on shootouts which was also brought up above.

    Yes he signed for $3mil, but we might have also been able to get him for that… and I'd had rathered spent $3mil on Kotalik then $2mil on Nilsson.

  44. LMHF#1 says:

    The thing about Brule is that he's the right kind of bit-part. While he plays an abrasive style and is somewhat responsible, he also won't fire one into the cheap seats if provided with an empty net.

    The fact that he might have the best slapper on the team is just a big fat bonus. He needs some PP time.

  45. Master Lok says:

    The fact that he might have the best slapper on the team is just a big fat bonus. He needs some PP time.

    Ahem. Souray. Ahem.

  46. uni says:

    Mr DeBakey said…
    Fuckin' Black Dog
    I agree with him again
    Every goddamn time.

    Its like my mind is an open book.
    He just reads away.
    Then writes it down.

    So you haven't figured out that the creepy guy lurking around the bushes outside your bedroom window at night with the sound amplifier and notepad is BlackDog yet?

  47. LMHF#1 says:

    ML: I said best; not hardest.

    Brule's is more accurate and can fire it off more quickly.

  48. Black Dog says:

    uni – that's quality

    of course you're dead now

  49. Mandie Reed says:

    can you believe a girl is reading about hockey. :) LOL

    my mandie reed website

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