In the past few weeks here at Eyes, we have been discussing who would be a good fit to come to the Island, and in some cases, who wouldn’t be a good fit.
As we approach a week since free agency took full swing, there is one guy that is out on the market, who for me, is very intriguing. That player would be none other than former Red Wing, and unrestricted free agent Damien Brunner.
In 44 games for the Red Wings this season, the 27 yr old rookie posted 12G, 14A, 26PTS and a -6 +/- rating.
Playing in his first postseason at the NHL level, Brunner posted 5G, 4A, 9PTS and a 4 +/- rating in 14 games; he scored 10 goals and 16 points in his first 19 NHL games and then was seemingly quiet only scoring 2 more goals in his final 25 games.
Some would say maybe Damien Brunner just flew under the radar those first 19 games and then teams figured him out. But you have to remember he was not only a rookie, but also played a ton in Switzerland during the lockout.
Between Switzerland and the NHL, Brunner played in a total of 91 games, which is almost identical to the amount he would have played in the NHL season if it hadn’t been cut short due to the lockout.
In interviews during the Red Wings postseason run, he admitted hitting the rookie wall a little bit due to the travel and time differentials.
The one positive sign teams interested in signing him is his adjustment to the said proverbial “rookie wall,” bouncing back nicely in the playoffs, scoring quite a few crucial goals that helped the Red Wings win some games.
At the end of the day, Brunner is a very good offensive forward, who cannot only shoot the puck well, but can pass it just as efficiently. He has blazing speed and great hands, but also adds a necessary grit, as well.
If we take a look at that last word “grit,” then the other word that comes to mind is Islanders. The Isles are building a hard-working, gritty squad, and wouldn’t a top six, fast scoring forward with a ton of grit fit well on this team?
At this point in the free agency period, it’s hard to gauge where some of these guys are going to wind up.
As for Damien Brunner, I would love to see GM Garth Snow pull the trigger and bring him to the Island. The one caveat however, is how much is he worth with only one season under his belt, and a shortened one at that.
To all of you faithful readers of Eyeson, and the new ones reading us for the first time, I pose this question….
If the Islanders could sign Brunner, how much would you spend for him?
- MR (@okie7321)