Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Gilbert Brule Experiment

What to do with the guy that almost everyone has written off. Injury prone, lacks hockey sense, but has a pleathora of talent in that smallish, explosive frame. The question is what to do with him now that he seems healthy out of the gate? Some thoughts are plug him on the fourth line with low expectations and run into anything that moves. Or....what if he you can create a line that has Smyth-Brule-Hemsky together? You have the Netcrasher-Shooter-Playmaker tandem that I am fond of. As well as it gives Hemsky a one-timer shot option in Brule that has been lacking for some time now. The only question is can Brule check his hat enough to outproduce his lack of defense?

Check out these line combos:

Hall-Horcoff-Eberle (Sc1)
Smyth-Brule-Hemsky (Sc2)
Paajarvi-Belanger-Jones (Chk)
Hartikainen-Lander-Eager (Eng)
Omark Gagner Hordichuk

First off, for this to work something has to happen to one of Omark or Gagner. Neither will like much being a healthy scratch, both aren't robust enough to be a 4th liner, but good teams have good depth, its a matter of buying in. Second, does Brule feel comfortable enough to be thrust back into a scoring role? It plagued him a lot last year and its a matter of finding comfort in being a two-way straight up shooter a la Jarret Stoll. Like I said above, I'm more worried about his defensive assignments. But if the other three centers are Horcoff, Belanger and Lander, all three above average defensively, it may give Brule's line an opportunity to exploit some matchups.

It's something that should warrant some opportunity in the pre-season, because I am worried about Gagner's ability to be a straight up shooter on that line.

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