The Detroit Red Wings added four veteran players to their team in the offseason (Jordin Tootoo, Mikael Samuelsson, Carlo Colaiacovo and Jonas Gustavsson), but the most anticipated arrival was Swiss scoring sensation Damien Brunner. Through just three games, Brunner has given Wings fans a taste of what the team saw in him when they signed him to a contract. The rookie winger has good speed and great puck control, and dazzled with a shootout winning goal against the Columbus Blues Jackets in the Wings’ second game before adding his first NHL goal in Tuesday night’s loss to the Dallas Stars.
Placed on a line with Red Wings stars Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, Brunner should have no shortage of chances to score this season. His 15 shots so far leads the team, with Zetterberg’s 13 right behind. With four seconds left Tuesday and the Wings in danger of being shut out for a second time in three games, Brunner’s first goal was the lone highlight of the game. His shootout goal the previous night against the Blue Jackets’ Sergei Bobrovsky made highlight reels across the board, as he channeled the moves of Datsyuk, faking a shot to the right, pulling it back and then sneaking the puck inside the left post.
During the lockout, Brunner led the Swiss-A league in scoring, with 25 goals and 57 points in just 33 games for EV Zug. Zetterberg was his linemate with Zug, and the two developed a chemistry that continues in the NHL. Expect Brunner to continue to get great scoring chances, and be one of the positive storylines for a slumping Wings team this season. He could post 20 goals or more and can be counted on for more highlights if the Wings find themselves in more shootouts.