The career of Gilbert Brule is not exactly textbook. A lottery pick in a dream draft year (Crosby, Kopitar, Stastny, Bobby Ryan), Brule was rushed to the NHL by an organization that had a long run of bad decisions.
He was then traded to another organization with some development issues. The Oilers put him in the minors for half a season before bringing him up and he’s been in the show since.
But not playing a helluva lot. Gilbert Brule missed exactly half of this season’s games.
- 5×5 points per 60: 0.96 (11th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 1.17 (10th among regular forwards)
- Qual Comp: 4th toughest faced among regular forwards
- Qual Team: 6th best available teammates among regular forwards
- Corsi Rel: -4.1 (9th best among regular forwards)
- Zone Start: 49.3% (4th toughest among regular forwards)
- Zone Finish: 48.5% (12th best among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 72/9.72% (6th best among F’s but DNQ)
- Boxcars: 41gp, 7-2-9
- Plus Minus: -7 on a team that was -52
- What do these numbers tell us? Brule played more difficult minutes (tougher opposition, tougher zone start) and his relCorsi and 5×5/60 numbers reflected it. Brule is 24 and he was coming off a solid offensive season one year ago. The entire thing was sidetracked by injury/illness but he was performing poorly based on facing 2nd line minutes with 3rd level teammates. 0.96/60 isn’t going to get it done on a contending team.
- How could these numbers be better? Well when a player’s health is such a big issue there’s a high probability that said player wasn’t 100% for games that he did play during the year. So I believe that last year’s 5×5/60 (2.36) is likely closer to his current number. But he has to be healthy enough to perform or he isn’t going to be on the roster.
- The Oilers should have given him the easy minutes instead of gifting the first round picks. Well, they didn’t gift the rookies–Hall and Eberle faced the toughest opposition among the Oilers’ wingers–and Brule had to play in front of people like Jacques and MacIntyre and Stortini (at the very least). It’s perhaps a damning comment on Brule’s development that no one thought of him as a reasonable option for the toughest available minutes.
- He can win faecoffs. Brule does seem to be good at it, but the organization rarely uses him in the middle. I have theories about it–center is a difficult position to play and despite his obvious toughness Brule is not a big man–but there’s no real reason he can’t take more faceoffs and then play wing.
- Where does the organization go from here? It depends on his health. Brule is signed for one more year at $1.85M so he’ll be in camp and have a job if he’s good to go. There’s not a hope in hell that the Oilers are going to be able to trade him when he’s missed 41 games and no one is talking specifics.
- What ARE Brule’s injury problems? Could be concussions, could be flu, could be HS, could be mono. Tyler Dellow did an exceptional job tracking Brule’s confusing season.
- Can he be a useful player? Brule has scored 17 goals in an NHL season and his 5×5/60 a year ago (2.36) showed he can contribute in the right circumstances.
- So he does have trade value? Not right now, not with the injury. He’ll need to come back in the fall and play a complete schedule to establish some value.
- Can he help a team win? If he could play soft minutes with skilled men I think Brule could post some numbers. But if you’re the Oilers those minutes would probably be better spent on Ales Hemsky, Jordan Eberle or Linus Omark.
- So where does he fit? Exactly.
By the Numbers
- 08-09 5×5 per 60m: 1.74
- 09-10 5×5 per 60m: 2.36
- 10-11 5×5 per 60m: 0.96
By the Numbers
- 08-09 5×4 per 60m: 0.00
- 09-10 5×4 per 60m: 1.99
- 10-11 5×4 per 60m: 1.17