Gilbert Brule didn’t pan out how the Columbus Blue Jackets hoped when the club selected the winger sixth overall in 2005 and he announced his NHL retirement in 2014. But Brule suited up this past season in the KHL, and he’s set to play again next season.
After signing a one-year deal with Avtomobilist Yekaterinberg in 2013-14, Brule suited up for 44 games with the club. During his first season in the KHL, Brule notched 10 goals and 15 points, and his season has helped him land another deal in the primarily Russian league.
Croatian club Medvescak Zagreb have announced they have signed Brule to a deal for the 2015-16 season, but the club hopes he can be a top-six player.
“Brule will perfectly fit in our team and we believe it will be of great help,” said Medvescak’s GM Aaron Fox.
Over the course of his 299-game NHL career, the 28-year-old scored 43 goals and 95 points. After a short stint with the Blue Jackets, Brule was dealt to the Edmonton Oilers for Raffi Torres and later claimed off of waivers by the then-Phoenix Coyotes. Brule’s best season came in 2009-10, when he scored 17 goals and 37 points with the Oilers.
With Phoenix, Brule was sent to the minors, but a refusal to report led to a team sanctioned suspension. Following the suspension, Brule told the Coyotes he wasn’t looking to play any longer.
“He decided that he didn’t want to live out of a suitcase anymore, was sick of living at hotels, and told me he was going to quit hockey – maybe become a firefighter,” said Coyotes GM Don Maloney at the time. “So what we do procedurally is we suspended him and unless he has a change of heart very, very quickly, we’ll go through the procedure of terminating his contract.”
Several months after his retirement, Brule signed his first KHL deal. Now, onto his second, there’s no telling when Brule might hang up his skates for good.