Damien Brunner has yet to find himself a new deal this offseason. After being let go by the Detroit Red Wings, Brunner hit the free agent market looking for a long term deal, and a contract somewhere around the $3 million mark.
The 27 year old forward spent his first season in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings after playing in the Swiss National League A for the last 7 seasons. Brunner skated in 44 games for the Red Wings and totaled 26 points, 12 goals, and 14 assists.
Brunner has the ability to score, and has the ability to put up points and help a team. The only problem in this case, is that Brunner came over after the lockout, and was only able to give away a small sample size of his abilities in a shortened season. With not much to look at, NHL general managers have been cautious of signing Brunner to the long term deal that he’s searching for.
There are still teams out there that are interested in Brunner, and there are plenty of teams out there that could use him. He’s a bit of a streaky player, but when he gets hot, he’s red hot. He spent the majority of the season in Detroit playing on the third line along with Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist, two other young players making their first extended appearances in the NHL.
The Red Wings gave Brunner time on the powerplay, and he made the most of the opportunities Mike Babcock and company gave him. Brunner continued to play well even in the playoffs, scoring 5 goals and adding 4 assists in 14 games.
There are a few teams around the league still interested in Brunner. He’s a solid top six forward on most squads, and will be able to lift scoring for teams. There’s no doubt that Brunner needs some more coaching, he was better as the season went on, but still even into the playoffs, his attempts at being to pretty with the puck cost the team possession on several occasions. The Phoenix Coyotes, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Ottawa Senators are the teams reported to be interested in Brunner’s services.
With the $3 million, one year deal the Washington Capitals had just given Mikhail Grabovski, you have to assume Brunner will be accepting a contract that isn’t quite worth what he wants. It may be smarter for him to take a lesser deal for a single season and work hard to improve on last year and let the entire league know that he’s worth more than what he’s being paid.
Brunner’s agent is optimistic that he will skate in the NHL next season, and of the teams that are interested, Nashville, Tampa Bay, and Phoenix would be my top pics to go after him and eventually sign him. All would be good fits, and all would have a good use for him on their roster. Where do you think he will end up?
Topics: Calgary Flames, Damien Brunner, Detroit Red Wings, Free Agency, Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Mike Babcock, Mikhail Grabovski, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators, Phoenix Coyotes, Tampa Bay Lightning, Winnipeg Jets