I honestly think the Oilers thought he would clear waivers and re-join the team...though I could be completely wrong, just the feeling I got from their press release.
That would be surprising to me. Why wouldn't some team claim Brule at half price with an expiring contract? Seeing how Phoenix is around 10th in waiver priority (well, 9th since Edmonton couldn't claim) I wonder how many teams in the lower two thirds put in claims.
Edmonton didnt do this to help Brule find an NHL gig. They need his body right now and what it comes down to, they're paying him an NHL wage for playing in the AHL. So they either take the chance he clears or continue paying him to play in the AHL.
I completely overlooked PHX as a destination for Brule. Hes a psychologically fragile guy and playing for a semi-competitive team with little to no media or fan scrutiny and an always-sunny environment...I wouldn't be the least bit shocked if he put up 20-25 points over the remainder of the season if he's given some decent linemates and good zone starts (maybe even some PP time). I wish the guy nothing but the best, that's for sure.
It has been a tough ride for Brule and his pro career so far. He was such a vibrant player in junior. Unfortunately being through the meat grinder of two poorly run teams like Edmonton and Columbus really sucked the life out of his career. Just another example of why the draft system needs to be scrapped ASAP to prevent more of this in the future.