Gilbert Brule was an outstanding junior hockey player, leading the Vancouver Giants to the Memorial Cup tournament.
Yet, those talents which saw him named a WHL all-star have yet to transfer to the NHL level. Regardless, the Oilers are taking a chance on the five-foot-10, 189-pound centre, acquiring the local native from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for winger Raffi Torres.
"I'm happy to be coming back to Edmonton," Brule said yesterday during a conference call. "I was born in Edmonton and it's my hometown. I'm excited to be coming to a new team - a young team, that had a great finish last year.
"I couldn't be happier with the way things have worked out and I'm looking forward to a new start."
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Brule, 21, was the Blue Jackets' first pick (sixth overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
The former junior standout scored 39 goals and added 48 assists in his last full season with the Giants. The following season he scored 23 goals and added 15 assists in 27 games.
However, last year he only scored one goal and added eight assists in 61 games with the Blue Jackets. The previous season he scored nine goals in 78 games.
"I think being a young guy myself it's a great fit for me," Brule said. "I'm very excited to come to this team. They have a great nucleus of good young players and I think we can build from that. From my side of it, I just want to work on my game, play more and develop more and I think in Edmonton I'm going to get that opportunity.
"I'm grateful to Columbus because they gave me a chance to play in the NHL at a very young age," Brule continued. "But going to Edmonton is a nice move. It's obviously difficult to be traded so early in your career - I've only been in the league for two years. But it's obviously a business and I'm learning that now.
"I think it's going to be a good thing and a positive thing for my career."