I decided to profile Detroit Red Wings forward Damien Brunner because, did you see his SO goal last night? Plus we’d like to think he’s more than just the guy that was on the receiving end of a suggestive motion from a disgruntled a fan.
The Wings new hope Damien Brunner is a rookie to the NHL but the 26-year-old has been playing in the Swiss National League A through his pro career. In fact, Brunner led the Swiss National League in points (60) and was named forward of the year last season. Not too shabby for a guy who has kicked around the NLA since ’06. Prior to the lockout, the Wings signed the winger to a one-year $925,000 entry level contract, which carries a 1.3M cap hit. And it seems that it may shape up to be a good deal for both parties.
Check out the shootout goal that got people talking about Brunner in the first place. Here he scores the game-winning goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets. While he has yet to pot a regulation goal or assist in the first two games of the season, he has shows flashes of brilliance, and the great hands that piqued scouts attention in the first place.
But hey look, this is nothing new. And you can see why he’s drawing comparisons to Pavel Datsyuk.
Brunner, a native of Oberlunkhofen, Switzerland, started his pro career with the Kloten Flyers of the NLA in the 2006-2007 season. In terms of production, it looks like he got off to a slow start in his first two seasons with the club, but by 2008, he only played 12 games with the Flyers before being traded to EV Zug in the NLA. Oddly enough, he played one game in between the transaction with HC Thurgau in the NLB for reasons unknown to me. According to Swiss fan internet ramblings, he wasn’t happy with his fourth-line role in Kloten, which may explain his low production during that time. In fact, his best season with Kloten came in his first year when he managed to garner 22 points in 42 games and was given a chance to play on the teams top line. With EV Zug, his production steadily increased to the point that he had more than 48 points in the last two 50 game seasons with the club, which naturally caught the eye of NHL scouts.
Through the recent lockout, Brunner got a chance to get to know Wings teammate Henrik Zetterberg a little more when the new Captain joined Zug. Brunner is a dynamic goal scorer that seems to be happy to get a shot with an NHL club and I think we should all get stoked on what’s to come.