Last season, the Red Wings had a player who played very well. Damien Brunner was something that the Red Wings needed last year. He was fast, and he knew when to put the puck in the net. He also knew where to send the puck to make sure it was getting to the net. This player was a fast flame, and he played rather well. He became a loved player around Detroit, but he has now moved on to a new city. He has agreed on a professional tryout with the New Jersey Devils.
May 27, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings center Damien Brunner (24) prepares to take a shot as Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) goes for the save in the third period in game six of the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Brunner played 44 games last season with the Red Wings. In his venture, he scored 12 goals and 14 assists. This put him at 26 points. He also snagged a game-winning goal that season. His success didn’t burn out after the regular season ended. He grabbed 5 goals and 4 assists in his two playoff series. He was a positive being on the ice, and played with a certain grace. He could have been an outstanding star in Detroit. But for whatever reason, most likely the request of more money, the Red Wings let him into the wild forest of the free agency.
Many speculated that he would return to the Swiss National League A (NLA), and others thought he would be scooped back up by the Red Wings. As us Wings fans hoped, the team never showed more interest in him. Devastated, we eagerly awaited every day to see where he would end up. Yesterday, it came up that he had agreed to a professional tryout with the New Jersey Devils. Earlier this offseason, many people thought New Jersey was one of the best places for him to end up in. But is he going to be what the Devils need, or even want?
May 8, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Detroit Red Wings center Damien Brunner (24) shoots the puck against Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller (1) during the first period in game five of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
I think he will be very useful to New Jersey for one reason. Ilya Kovalchuk. He stirred the pot earlier by retiring from the NHL in the beginning of a massive contract with the Devils. Brunner plays the left wing position (as did Kovalchuk) and can be an influential forward as Kovalchuk was. Ryane Clowe was added to the roster in the spot of left wing, but I think Brunner can be a huge player in this organization.
Devils’ GM Lou Lamoriello said this: “We thought through the summer he would be signing. We said if it did not work out we’d be very interested in taking him to camp. When it looked like he hadn’t gotten a contract we communicated, kept our word and he’s here.” (http://www.nhl.com/ice/blogpost.htm?id=20356&navid=nhl:topheads)
Does this mean he will make the team? It seems pretty determined, since Lamoriello wanted Brunner. He waited to see if anyone had picked him up, and pounced on the opportunity when it was right. He made Brunner sweat out the offseason a little bit, but it seems to be close to being set in stone that he plays there next season. I don’t doubt that he will dominate the tryout and make the line-up. I wish Mr. Brunner all the luck with this organization.