The Detroit Red Wings were unable to work out a deal to keep forward Damien Brunner with the team for another season or more, and so far he has yet to catch on with another team. The rumor that Brunner was looking for around $3.5 million per season might have a lot to do with that, and the Red Wings look like they made the right decision as other teams aren’t willing to spend that kind of money on a player with just 44 games of experience either.
Brunner was one of the most exciting additions to the Red Wings for the 2013 season, and there was no shortage of highlight-reel goals. The Swiss league star proved especially handy in the shootout, but only found the back of the net twice in the last 25 regular-season games. He managed 12 goals and 26 points in 44 games, which made his contract at the time (just over $1 million per season) a bargain. He seemed to disappear at times in the latter parts of the season, but found his groove again for the playoffs and scored five goals. There should be a home for him somewhere before training camp opens, but the lack of early interest definitely reinforces the belief that the current asking price is too high.
The other reason this move made sense for the Red Wings is that they have plenty of young forwards ready for full-time duty. Brunner’s absence should open the door for Gustav Nyquist to get more chances, and the free agent addition of Daniel Alfredsson should more than replace the scoring lost. Brunner was exciting to watch in Detroit, but the burden to prove the Red Wings should have kept him around now rests on his shoulders.