Who the hell is Damien Brunner?



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.

HOWEVER...

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?

5 comments:

  1. Nice reporting. I didn't know that they went after him last year. Thought it was a new development. He mind as well stick with the Wild just because we showed faith in him.

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  2. Just to get one thing straight: Christoph Brandner is Austrian (like Vanek) NOT Swiss (like Streit, Hiller, Sbisa etc). And when it comes to swiss players, Damien Brunner is certainly the most talented among them. He definitely has the skill set, the skating and also the scoring touch of a top 6 forward. The only question in my opinion is if he has the punch/weight to survive in the NHL. I tend to say he'll make it in the NHL if he's given a fair chance at a top 6 roster spot. I think his story can be compared with the journey Raphael Diaz made. Both played for the same team in Switzerland, both went undrafted, both had several good years in the top swiss league and on the world cup stage and both tried their luck in the NHL quiet late. Diaz made his spot right out of training camp. For Brunner, it could turn out like that as he's certainly ready for the challenge.

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  3. Any update on this? I heard he made a decision, and that it just was not made public.

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  4. He is 7 pounds lighter than Parise and is going to look great scoring goals for the Winged Wheel!!!!

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