Gilbert Brule: Tumbling Dice

The quickest way to a million in big league hockey is to contribute heavily to the offensive side of the equation. Despite playing about the same number of career NHL games, Fredik Sjostrom’s (who was drafted one selection before 83) salary is about $3M less than Ales Hemsky each season.

Gilbert Brule made $800,000 this past season and is a restricted free agent. A big story for Oilers fans this season will surround just how much he’ll get on his next contract. Although the club is unlikely to be tight against the cap in 10-11, having Brule sign a value contract will make it easier for the Oilers to shoehorn a few contracts moving forward. It’ll be an interesting item to track this summer.

  • Boxcars: 65gp, 17-20-37
  • Shots: 121
  • Plus Minus: -8
  • Corsi (Rel): 5.8 (5th among F’s)
  • GF/GA ON: 38-43
  • 5×5/60: 2.36 (2nd among regulars) 
  • 5×4/60: 1.99 (11th among regulars)
  • Quality of Competition: 10th F
  • Quality of Teammates: 5th F
  • FO %: 52.6 in 274 FO’s
  • Offensive Zone start FO %: 48.4 (5th easiest among F’s) 
  • Cap Hit: $800,000 (RFA)
  1. What do these numbers tell us? Brule impressed this season as a player who can score goals. You’d love to see another season before giving him the keys of the vault but he’s got that “something” goal scorers possess in terms of finding open ice and burying chances. We don’t know if he’s going to bury 20 a season or 30 per annum, but he looks like a goal scorer. Brule had soft-ish minutes and played much of the season with the better Oiler forwards, but overall I think we can agree he showed the Oilers he can play. One important factor to remember is that he is (like Hemsky) a skill player with some stones, and that might give him enough of an edge over Cogliano.
  2. How could these numbers be better? Much like Gagner, you’d like to see him do a little more with these minutes. I think it is probably asking a bit much of him to save his career and drag this bunch into playoff contention in the same season, but it is also true that a more experienced winger would have delivered more with this slot in the batting order.
  3. Is he going to be a complete player? Brule didn’t spend his season running around without a clue ala Cogliano, but he isn’t Donny Marcotte on the forecheck either. He did perform well in the FO circle. We can overrate the defensive aspects (he is after all a skill winger) but if he’s playing with Penner it would be nice for the other winger to haul ass getting back every shift.
  4. What about that EV number? Nice, eh? If Brule can contribute at that level consistently there’s little doubt he’ll be an Oiler long enough to enjoy the good times. I don’t think we should read too much into that PP number, he was about option 8 among Oiler forwards. If he gets more PP time that number should improve markedly. 
  5. What about Jagr? The only way I can see Brule not making next season’s top 6 is some kind of addled addition like Jagr. If we assume that Hemsky, Penner, Gagner, Seguin/Hall and Brule make up 5 of the top 6 in the fall, the obvious addition is a young, skilled LW with some size who can grow with the group. Right?
  6. What are his negatives? The one big problem I see (as mentioned above) is that his will not be a value contract. If Brule scores 25 goals and is signed to a good contract that’s an exceptional value, but the Oilers may end up paying in full before he reaches any milestone.
  7. How important is Brule to the organization? He’s more valuable now than he was a year ago. If they could sign him to a 3-year deal at reasonable dollars his value would rocket.
By The Numbers
  • 08-09 5×5 per 60m: 1.74
  • 09-10 5×5 per 60m: 2.36
By The Numbers
  • 08-09 5×4 per 60m: 0.00
  • 09-10 5×4 per 60m: 1.99

Predictions Past 2009-10: 55gp, 7-8-15 (.273)
Performance in  2009-10: 65gp, 17-20-37 (.569)

Projected Role on 2010-11 Oilers: A top 6F role for as long as he’s scoring goals

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