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Damien Brunner isn’t sure if he’ll be back with Detroit

Jun 5, 2013, 6:56 PM EDT

dbrunnergetty Getty Images

It isn’t normal for a guy to have a nice rookie season and then become an unrestricted free agent the following summer, but that’s the case for Detroit Red Wings forward Damien Brunner.

At 27, he’s free to sign with any team he’d like after scoring 26 points in 44 regular season games and nine points in 14 postseason contests for the Red Wings.

Brunner was noncommittal about his future with the organization in an interview with The Oakland Press.

“It’s hard for me to say,” Brunner said. “We’ll see what’s coming. I’m excited about talking to them about my future.”

Either way, he was impressed with the way the franchise handles its business.

“I can’t say anything bad about the Detroit Red Wings,” Brunner continued. “It’s a first-class organization. It was a big honor to wear that sweater. I’m looking forward to the next weeks. It’s going to be decision time, but I think it’ll be a good time as well.”

Brunner is among some important free agents such as Valtteri Filppula, Gustav Nyquist, Drew Miller and Danny Cleary, so we’ll see if they let him walk.

It would be a shame, in a way, because he described it as “the best locker room” he’s been in.

  1. devilsarethebest - Jun 5, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    Would love to have him on the Devils, see what Uncle Lou can do.

  2. polegojim - Jun 5, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    Maybe unpopular… but Detroit has too many ‘soft’ puck players and Brunner is one of them.

    I’d ‘like’ to have him back… but would prefer a step-up to more puck toughness.

    • withseidelinn - Jun 5, 2013 at 8:56 PM

      AKA David Clarkson

    • hockeydon10 - Jun 6, 2013 at 8:44 AM

      You make a good point there Jim. One might argue that his first season in the NHL wore him down and that he wasn’t used to the intensity, especially when carrying the puck, compared to the Swiss league.

      I’d say they should still bring him back. See what he’s capable of with full training camp and getting better conditioned to the regular season grind.

  3. howintensive - Jun 5, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    Since it’ll be his first full offseason, I’d like to see what Babcock can do with Bruns. I think he’ll really harden up and figure out how to score consistently

  4. bensawesomeness - Jun 5, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    if they sign Val and let Brunner walk, I’ll pull my hair out

  5. nicwel - Jun 5, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    Would love to have Brunner back in Hockeytown. Guy has crazy skill. C’mon Kenny Holland, lets see what this guy can do in a full 82 game season.

  6. jburrell4 - Jun 5, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    Agree with Jim here. Brunner started not, but became notorious for the extra pass and the attempt at a flashy play vs putting the puck on net. His half-hearted forechecking leaves something to be desired as well. Not trying to be overly critical of the guy – he’s a good player. But there are too many guys on this roster cut from the same mold. Time to push to get someone big and nasty who can score or decapitate people on the back end….

  7. jburrell4 - Jun 5, 2013 at 9:45 PM


  8. westpalmlion - Jun 5, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    Kenny Holland’s first order of business should be shipping Kyle Quincey out of town..worst defender I’ve ever seen to wear the winged wheel. Useless.

    • hockeydon10 - Jun 6, 2013 at 8:45 AM

      As bad as he’s seemed at times, he was doing a better job than White.

      • wingsdjy - Jun 6, 2013 at 11:59 AM

        I’d get rid of Smith

  9. tmoore4075 - Jun 6, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Get rid of Smith? This is why fans would be terrible GM’s. The kid’s 24 years old playing in his first NHL season, not even a real full one yet, and lets get rid of him. Yes he had some bad games but I saw some good stuff out of him too. I remember a lot of fans saying the same thing about Jimmy Howard in the late 2000’s when he still wasn’t making the team. Especially after a couple soft goals in the 2nd game in Sweden in 2009-10. Glad Kenny didn’t listen to those fans. Not saying Smith for sure ends up great but it takes time. Not everyone comes out and plays great like Lidstrom. Hell the Hawks should have traded Keith after the 09 series against the Wings if we’re basing it off a shot window.

    As for Brunner, I’d love to get him back but I do wonder if some team out there will throw dumb money at him. He deserves a raise, somewhere around $2mil, maybe a little more, I’d say on a short contract. Someone gives him 3.5mil or more Holland will let him walk. After he lets him walk fans will then yell and say Holland should be fired because he didn’t overspend on a kid who hasn’t proven anything yet. The Wings will then go on to make the playoffs for the 23rd straight year next year and those fans will keep quiet until July 1st, 2014.

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