There was a very big reason why Damien Brunner was not signed prior to this season when he accepted a tryout with the New Jersey Devils. Brunner overvalued himself by a large margin after playing one shortened season in the NHL. Although he put up decent statistics, he still had some raw aspects of his game. The issue with shortened seasons is it seems to be mostly based off of pure talent over other intangibles. Does Brunner have those said intangibles that get players through an NHL season?
Brunner has since signed a two-year deal to stick with the Devils. He went from the team’s best player early in the season to now being a healthy scratch. Peter DeBoer honestly believes that he is going to get more production out of Mattias Tedenby than he is out of Brunner, and that is very sad for him.
The Devils brought him on this team to replace some much needed scoring, but he hasn’t put the puck in the net since October 26. He is clearly not the only problem for the Devils’ offense, but he is one of the more glaring ones. Brunner has the ability to score at will, but he hasn’t been able to make his own opportunities lately. Maybe he can get with Jaromir Jagr so he can teach him exactly how one does that. In fact, can he teach the rest of the team as well?
Being a Devil means you have to be more than just a good scorer; you are expected to play defense in your position as well. That has never been one of Brunner’s stronger suits. That was clear when he completely let his man Tyler Kennedy alone in front of the net for an easy one-timer that ended up being the deciding goal.
Brunner is apparently upset with the recent benching so hopefully that puts the right kind of fire under his butt. He needs to get extra motivated because he looks sluggish when he is on the ice. The past three games he was involved in he has totaled one shot. Not one shot per game, only one shot in those three games. This man is on this team to provide offense. We all understand that slumps happen, but he needs to snap out of it and quick. This team needs him to be the guy he was on the Detroit Red Wings last season. They need the guy who has a nose for scoring. If they don’t get it, then he is going to see more and more of the press box.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to their MLB and NFL content. You can follow him on Twitter for more sports information.