RE 11-12: Gilbert Brule

There were times during this past season when the Oilers were shorthanded and in need of all hands on deck. In some of those times, Gilbert Brule could not answer the bell.

That more than anything probably means he’s gone sooner than later.
Gilbert Brule had a tough NHL season. It leaves him at something of a crossroads. I believe there’s a very good chance he’ll play some minor league games this season, and I’m sincere in saying there doesn’t seem to be a way to make him a part of the organization beginning 2012 summer. Too many options.

OKC Prediction for 11-12: 40gp, 16-16-32 (.800)
NHL Prediction for 11-12: 10gp, 2-1-3 (.300)

  1. What’s the health problem? Concussion related, these things take time, you know. All kinds of issues, remember Adam Deadmarsh? And what about Marc Savard, poor guy missed his chance at Stanley. 
  2. So you’re not going to be specific? No. Brule had some issues related to concussions and that had a major impact on the team and the player. For Brule, you have to feel for the guy because it isn’t like a bad shoulder or hand injury. Timeline is a tricky item.
  3. What was the LAK’s problem? From what we can tell, they planned a buyout and you can’t buy out an injured player. NHL lawyers turned them back before they tried.
  4. So the Oilers traded an injured player? From what we can tell, he had been cleared to play. There appears to be some grey area in this case, but I think it’s reasonable to allow for the possibility that both teams were dealing in good faith.
  5. You’re making no sense. Stop saying from what we can tell. There are rules in place to protect the player in these areas, and Brule may have had a setback between the time the Oilers looked at him and the trade call. I have a friend–Jeff Krushell–who has worked in various pro sports (not hockey) in North America and he tells me that most kids–not just players–but prospect kids, have a fairly long list of injuries suffered over the years. So maybe the Oilers felt the concussion was better, and maybe the NHL lawyers looked at the entirety of his injury history and felt it prudent to step back.
  6. He should be ready by fall.  One hopes, but it’s a sticky wicket. Now, this is where we might hear the immortal words “it’s nobody’s fault, but…..” and that’s where we need to talk about the Oilers and Brule’s impact on the team. There were times during this past season when he wasn’t available–and the club was badly shorthanded–and Brule’s injury history has to be considered in regard to next year’s roster. If the Oilers feel that the nature of his injury means they may be short a roster spot at important times again this coming season, Brule may not make the cut out of TC.
  7. So, what trade him? That’s unlikely to happen. The trade fiasco brought a lot of negative attention and I wonder if Brule has any value at this time. In order to be trade worthy, you’d think NHL GM’s would want to see him healthy for a long stretch.
  8. Good lord, you’re saying they are going to send him to OKC! It isn’t my money, and I think Brule will get a clear chance in TC. If he can remain healthy and productive Brule is a roster player. If not, I think they’ll risk waivers on him and send him down.
  9. For awhile. Once he’s down there I believe the Oilers will keep him there and then set him free at the end of the season. They have options, younger kids with great potential and Brule’s injury may cost him his NHL job with the Oilers.
  10. Good lord, another Souray? Nothing at all like Souray. There was a time not long ago when Brule was viewed as part of the future, but last season hurt him quite a bit as a roster player. Emplyoying Brule on the big league roster might mean being shorthanded a lot–it did last season.
  11. What on earth does he have? Concussion related problems.
  12. You already said that. Well, you can read more here and here.
  13. Okay. Good. So how do they proceed? Brule comes to camp and would have to be considered one of the 14 best forwards in the group. After that, as long as he performs at a high level and stays healthy he’s an Oiler.
  14. And if he’s injured? I believe the Oilers will move on. Tough, tough business.
  15. Name the 14 forwards you think the Oilers will keep to start the season. Gagner, RNH, Horcoff, Belanger, Brule, Hall, Smyth, Paajarvi, Eager, Hordichuk, Hemsky, Eberle, Omark, Jones.
  16. So, he makes the team and then plays C on the 4th line after they send RNH down. Right, except that VandeVelde, Lander, and others are waiting in the wings and Brule’s style lends itself to getting banged up.
  17. What about the wingers? Could he play there? Hmmm. Not a lot of room there.
  18. So you’re telling me he could be a healthy scratch? Yes. The potential is there for Brule and Hordichuk to be HS a lot, especially early in the season.
  19. What’s his best chance of making the top 12F opening night. Injury to another player or playing better than Ryan Jones. Those are the available options I see.  
  20. How good a chance does Brule have of spending the entire season in Edmonton? How good a chance does Gilbert Brule have of being healthy all season? NHL jobs are dear, they don’t give them away to anyone. Gilbert Brule has some talent, that shot of his is terrific and he plays the game with abandon. But he played half the season a year ago and again I’ll mention there were nights when the Oilers iced a shorthanded team. It happens but you can’t tell me coach Renney was okay with it. I think Brule is in a tough spot for his NHL career right now.

Here’s hoping it all works out.

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