Gilbert Brule - Photo courtesy Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers

By The Numbers: #67 Gilbert Brule


Aw, Brule, man!  What happened?

It’s no secret that Gilbert Brule’s stock has taken a tumble in one year’s time (except for maybe that whole Bono thing, which got a tonne of coverage). Add to the mix that he was the key cog in a trade that would’ve brought Ryan Smyth home a day or two sooner, and you’ve got to wonder about your future in Edmonton if you’re Gil Brule.

Let’s take a look at his 2010-11, and what might be in store for him in 2011-12.

NAME: Gilbert Brule

SWEATER NUMBER:  67

POSITION:  Centre

2010-11 NUMBERS:  7G-2A-9PTS, (-7), 41 PIM in 41 GP

2010-11 SALARY $1.85M, (one year remaining) will be RFA on July 1st, 2012

THE SKINNY:

Ah, the rewind button.  I can remember some consternation between Oiler faithful when Brule received that two year deal of his at $1.85M per year.  Brule had a 37 point season in 2009-10 (17G-20A) and that was just in 65 games.  We talk of rookies that have similar totals and how much they will improve in the years coming.  Brule signed a two year deal and injuries came calling.

Had anyone knew that Brule would’ve saddled in for about 40 games and single digits in points, the pitchforks would’ve been drawn.

Brule was first round pick for the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2005, going sixth overall.  Now just 24,  he’ll be fighting for playing time come October.  A late season concussion to go with an abdominal injury claimed nearly 30 games on Brule’s season in 2010-11.  And, although you might think that Cogliano’s departure to Anaheim would bode well for Brule, he’s got to contend with the likely arrival of wunderkind Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the signing of Eric Belanger, and Timra product Anton Lander to boot.

Add to all of this the small fact that he was very nearly traded for Ryan Smyth just about a month ago (and the only reason he’s not in LA is because he couldn’t pass a physical), and it’s been sort of a choppy year for Gilbert Brule.  I can’t imagine that phone call.  You’ve been traded to LA for Ryan Smyth.  Wait, no you haven’t.  My bad.  Colin Fraser was traded for Ryan Smyth.  Yeah, there was a seventh round pick involved, what of it.  Good luck next year in Edmonton!

WHAT COULD BE

I always praised Andrew Cogliano for his professional attitude – Cogs was one of the key components in the deal that fell through for Dany Heatley while Heatley was a member of the Senators.  Cogliano still put on the Oiler sweater and played as if it never happened.

It’s a little bit of a different situation for Gilbert Brule.  Should Brule be cleared to play remains to be seen.  The signing of Eric Belanger covers up the utility centre spot.  Belanger will also likely get a good chunk of PK minutes.  If Nugent-Hopkins makes camp, things get really cloudy for Brule, as RNH-Horcoff-Gagner-Belanger-Brule makes five NHL centres.  And that’s not including Anton Lander, who waived goodbye to Timra over the weekend.  At the worst, Lander will be in OKC.  At Brule’s worst…

The following season will be Brule’s fourth for the Oilers, and it’s lined up to be a precarious one at best.  Some might cringe at the thought of putting a guy in the pressbox who pulls nearly $2M, but it’s more likely than you think.  If Brule hangs in Edmonton for another year, it’ll be for spot duty.  If someone goes down, Brule is likely to get the call.  If Brule is able to be traded, (and for that matter, play) I’m going to believe that he’ll be moved.  If the whole fallout with Dean Lombardi and the LA Kings comes back to haunt the Oilers, it wouldn’t shock me very much to see Brule waived.

Where do you see Gilbert Brule in October?

Next player:  Tom Gilbert #77

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