After I got home from work today, I sat down with a bite to eat and checked out Elliotte Friedman's weekly 30 Thoughts Column over at CBC.Ca- now, if you aren't familiar with said feature, make sure you make a point to read it every week. Lots of great anecdotes, insider knowledge, and sometimes thought-provoking questions as well.
So during the course of reading the piece, I came across this little nugget:
24. Both Tampa and Pittsburgh are checking out 26-year-old Swiss winger Damien Brunner, who is an unrestricted free agent. It's likely Minnesota is too, as the Wild were ahead of the curve and tried to sign him last year. But, he wanted to spend one more year in Europe.
Now I had heard a reference to a "Swiss Winger" during one of Mike Russo's fill-in spots on KFAN, but wasn't able to listen to the entire context that particular segment, and promptly forgot about checking it out on podcast. Off I went to the interwebs in search of a "Damien Brunner", and this is what I got.
Brunner's EliteProspects Page
As you can see, Brunner's got a knack for well, putting the puck in the net. I know Youtube highlight compilations aren't exactly best suited for quick armchair scouting, but he's got a wicked release on his shot, and has some nice skating ability too- good north-south speed, but also some lateral agility which allows him to buy some time with the puck and keep him deceptive.
Minnesota hasn't had the most storied run with Swiss born players- Christoph Brandner was similar in that he could score goals, but wasn't able to convert his game to the more rough and tumble version of North American Hockey. Julien Sprunger never signed after he was drafted, and for all I know, Julien Walker may have never existed.
But whose to say that if The Wild were able to get Brunner to sign on the dotted line and have him come over, that he couldn't succeed here?