Thursday, January 11, 2018

Gilbert Brulé Jersey Card

Congratulations are in order for Gilbert Brulé, who was named to Team Canada's 25-man Olympic roster for the 2018 Winter Games. He'll be joined by the likes of Rene Bourque, Ben Scrivens, Chris Kelly, Christian Thomas, Maxim Lapierre, Mason Raymond, Derek Roy, Chris Lee, Maxim Noreau, Justin Peters and Kevin Poulin.

He was drafted 6th overall in 2005 by the Columbus Blue Jackets, while many thought the Montréal Canadiens would have jumped on the chance to take a francophone center with the fifth pick; instead, the Habs chose Carey Price, but the behemoth center they should have taken fell to the 11th spot (Anze Kopitar).

While Brulé could never muster up a 20-point season in three tries with the Jackets, his passage with the Edmonton Oilers was slightly more memorable, because although he spent parts of two seasons in the AHL in his three years with the Oilers organization, he also put up 17 goals, 20 assists and 37 points in 65 games with the team in 2009-10, more than doubling his production from the four previous seasons combined.

His time in Edmonton was marred by injuries, though, from a knee injury off a dirty Adam McQuaid hit to a severe flu to a high-ankle sprain to a stomach virus to an abdominal injury to a concussion, he was seemingly never in good enough shape to play.

Then there was the issue with the Phoenix Coyotes sending him to the AHL and Brulé opting to "retire" instead, effective January 1st, 2014... a situation that lasted four months, as he signed in the KHL in May, for the following season.

His stat line was average for his first three seasons in the Kontinental League, but he's had a star-like production since last season:
Courtesy of HockeyDB
Point-per-game seasons are pretty rare in the KHL.

At 31 years of age, he may have a year or two left of "prime" play left in him, but perhaps he's burnt too many bridges for an NHL return.

In any event, being named to the Canadian National Team in an Olympic year is quite an achievement, and while I'm not sure hiring Willie Desjardins as head coach was the wisest decision, GM Sean Burke sure knows what he's doing.

Here's Brulé on a Frankencard that represents how most people see him in North America*, as a doomed prospect from the Jackets and Oilers, on card #GJ-GB from Upper Deck's 2008-09 Series 1 set and UD Game Jersey sub-set:
It features a dark blue game-worn swatch from a jersey worn during his time in Columbus.

*of course, there was that time when he gave a hitchhiking Bono a ride...

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