Well this is a pretty cool story. Damien Brunner, a sought after undrafted free-agent from Europe (no, not Brunnstrum or Lieno) is apparently going to sign with the Wings, provided that everything can be figured out regarding his contract.
The Detroit Red Wings appear to have reeled in Damien Brunner, a sought-after European unrestricted free agent.
Swiss media is reporting Brunner will sign with the Wings, though he cannot officially do so until July 1.
The Wings like Brunner and were one of many NHL teams – including Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington, Montreal and Philadelphia – who wooed him.
“Mike Babcock and I saw him play at the World Champions, and we liked what we saw,” Holland said. “He’s very talented.”Hit the jump for more on this kid, including video and some impressive stats.
He's the leading scorer in the Swiss league, with 60 points in 45 games. This is a low scoring league, so this is a pretty substantial amount. In addition, he played for the Swiss team in the world championships (against NHL competition) and not only lead the team, but scored 7 points in 7 games. That's equal to Corey Perry in less games. Eat that Perry. Other NHL players on the Swiss team include Nino Niederreiter, a highly ranked prospect for NYI, who didn't score a point. Also impressive is that he finished the games at a +2, on a team that was mostly in the minus.
Elite Prospects describes Damien as:
A slick offensive forward who can shoot as well as pass the puck. Has great wheels and hands. Plays a gritty game. (EP)That pretty much covers the gambit doesn't it? Might as well have said "not only can he shoot, pass and skate, but he holds the door for the ladies, all while being better looking than you." Well, turns out, from watching a little highlight video, it might be right.
I've also read that's he's a Hudler with wheels and hands. While it's no Parise, it's a good start for what's setting up to be a great summer.
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From a look at those stats I would say he has a fair enough chance to make the lineup, especially if xmas doesn't come in July for us like it should.
@Reddy I wouldn't bet on it. If Detroit were to lose out on both Parise and Suter they would still be looking for a top pairing defenseman and a top six forward. An unknown kid from Switzerland doesn't do a thing to address either of those needs.
If Detroit does so little this off-season that this kid can make the lineup then I'm going to have a hard time watching the Detroit Griffins play this season...
@garth I guess so, but you never know. I mean if he keeps up those kinds of stats in the preseason and performs at camp he could see some time. Though we haven't seen him play at top level for long enough to judge. Hopefully the lineup doesn' t have holes for much longer that he'll need to fill!
@Reddy Fair enough, that's true, but that's also a really small sample size. There are people talking about how well Abdelkader played at the Worlds, and while I like Abdelkader I don't expect that him playing well at the Worlds is going to result in him suddenly being a top-six forward who doesn't take stupid, stupid, stupid penalties at inopportune times.
@garth Well, I would say World Champs was top level, but yes they better fill the gaps with top tier guys.
@Reddy Well, to be fair we haven't seen him play at top level at all. If this were the SEL or the KHL it might be one thing, but it's a Swiss league.
My hope is that Detroit makes enough good moves that they can compete and not need the likes of Brunnstrom, Brunner, Conner, Tatar, etc.
He will get a chance to make the team during training camp. If he's good enough, he'll play. If not, it doesn't cost the Wings any assets. It's a good move.
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@DaddyBabcock Why do they need to play him right away? He's a decent player from the Swiss league. Oooooooo!!!!!!! If they decide to play him maybe the NHL will cancel the season and just give the Stanley Cup to the Wings, right?
@DaddyBabcock Why isn't there a dislike button?
@DaddyBabcock First off, I wouldn't compare him to Stamkos, Crosby, or Nuge. Secondly, Detroit already has such a deep pool of talent that, while I like this singing a lot, he shouldn't necessarily play right away. We have guys in our system who also deserve their shot to "play" and they will all have to earn one of the coveted spots on the Detroit line up. We aren't Edmonton and these aren't all first round superstar draft picks. The 26 year old Swiss forward will need to prove himself when he gets the chance.
@DaddyBabcock While you are dead wrong about Cleary and Homer, I hate seeing guys like Emmerton/Mursak get a shot just because their AHL time has ended while guys with real talent (Nyqust/Brunnstrum/Smith/Conner) were wasted away in GR without a real shot in the DRW.
I need to write an article about Cleary soon to remind everyone just how good he is when he has two legs. Comments like this are BS and getting too common.
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@moorecha @DaddyBabcock I've been a huge Cleary supporter for quite awhile (even during this season while everyone seemed to turn on him). The previous season he had a solid 46 points, and this year had a mediocre 33....while on the 3rd line/while broken.
My roomate and myself came up with "pulling a Cleary" which basically meant blowing a wide-open scoring opportunity. Cleary had many chances this past season and was inches (or yards amirite?!) from having another 46 point season.
Cleary seems to be a great mentor to the younger players, (Eaves, Miller, Helm, Abdelkader) who play a very similar role as Cleary does. He gives every game 100% effort, like any 3rd/4th liner should and it rubs off on the aforementioned players who also seem to give each and every game everything they've got.
Cleary and Helm on the PK seem to have some connection that I've never seen with other players. When Helm came back for the entire half of a game that he did, the PK looked completely different from what I could see. When those 2 do their 'X' cross to the boards on the PK, I get wood...wait what?...
But seriously, Cleary does more than people give him credit for, like Helm!
P.S. Don't post after drinking!
@moorecha I don't think he's wrong about Cleary and Holmstrom, I just think he said it in an extremely stupid way.
@DaddyBabcock Go back to commenting on the red wings facebook please.
wow what a great signing, according to this video he seems to be pretty good player. Hope he can break thru
@garth Garth, I hate to join you on the pessimism train, but you're probably right.
@moorecha I actually don't mean it as pessimism. In my mind if he IS playing for the Wings then something has gone wrong in the "free agent frenzy". He's the top scorer in the Swiss league? Wow. He signs an NHL contract and he becomes the 4th best out of the four Swiss NHLers (not including goalies). He doesn't address a Red Wings need, and I feel the same way about him as I do this Schultz kid that everyone is creaming their jeans about. Lidstrom and Stuart leave and the idea is some college kid who's never played anything near an NHL season is going to come and fill some slot? Eff that.
Brunner's not an automatic top-six forward, so who gives a damn? We've got 32 bottom-six forwards signed already. He'll help Grand Rapids not completely suck like they did this past year. They might be pretty good with Brunner, Brunnstrom, Tatar, etc.
@garth @moorecha I guess it depends whether he's better than the prospects we have already. But it's not unheard of for top 6 forwards to come out of nowhere or very late in the draft (Z and Datsyuk for example). At first Datsyuk was supposed to be a slightly better than average two way forward if I remember correctly, look how he turned out.
Any thoughts on whether he'll start in GR or if he'll automatically be playing on the Wings next year? It would be interesting to have him and goose on the fourth line with someone with speed.
@thebiglachovsky Same problem with Schultz. The Wings have the system in place between GR and the Red Wings. I don't know if we've had anyone in this century get drafted and immediate go and play. Everyone has to spend their time in GR.
@RedWings3RDP Gotcha, sorry was thinking within the Wings system.
@moorecha The defenseman from Anaheim people are saying the Wings could go after. Problem is he's probably going to want ice time immediately and we wouldn't necessarily be willing to do that.
@RedWings3RDP Yeah, i get their reasoning, I would just love to see us draft someone and immediately see them playing. Im impatient I guess.
@thebiglachovsky Well there's a lot of guys (Tatar, Mursak, Emmerton, Jurco, etc) who have been in the system longer who are about that age that you'd have to pass over to bring this kid in.
I tweeted my concern to the freepress, in that I don't want the Red Wings to keep going after smallish Euro-players because I think we need size and strength and grit in our goal scorers too.
That being said, he's shown a scoring touch that is outstanding and maybe he can be a future Datsyuk or Zetterberg as those guys get older. So it's an exciting proposition to be sure.
@RedWings3RDP Size and strength are overrated. Grit is not.
@moorecha They're over-rated when they're not coupled with a good skill set. Bertuzzi's size and strength were an asset when he was still a 30-40 goal scorer. Jagr's strength still serves him will because he has skills to put it to good use.
Fact of the matter is, the league is getting bigger and stronger, the Wings need to do the same.