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*Could* Damien Brunner play for EV Zug, at least until he latches on with an NHL team? Possibly.

This is a little different: under the last CBA, the NHL prohibited players who'd skated in professional hockey leagues outside of North America after the start of the NHL season to sign with teams without clearing waivers first. This year, the regular season begins early--on Tuesday, October 1st--but the Swiss National A League's regular season begins on September 12th...

And the Neue Luzerner Zeitung's Nicola Berger reports that former Wing Damien Brunner may play in a few games for his old Swiss team, EV Zug, between now and October. Brunner happens to be skating with the team, which could yield a short-term marriage of convenience.

I think that Berger's reaching a bit here--actually reaching significantly--because it's entirely probable that Brunner will land at least a pro try-out within the next seven-to-ten days, but, "Brunner back with Zug for a little while" at least makes solid sense given that he's still practicing there.

What follows is solidy-translated German, but the one part where Berger's completely out of his eleent is whens he suggests that Brunner could come back to Detroit. That's not happening, especially if Brunner's still looking for $3+ million per season.

Damien Brunner's still without an NHL employer. Now the goal-scorer could--at least temporarily--play with EV Zug.

On July 5th, the NHL free agent marketplace opened. Since then, contracts totaling almost $1 billion have been signed. But Damien Brunner, 27, wasn't able to take a piece of that pie. The best Swiss goal-scorer of all time is still on the open market. This is surprising--and frustrating--for Brunner. He produced 26 points for the Red Wings this past spring, over the course of 44 NHL games, and he proved he was ready for NHL play.

Brunner could still play for the Red Wings, but he rejected their contract offer in June. Elsewhere, most of the NHL's 30 teams' rosters are full, and Brunner is running out of time. In a week, some teams begin training camps, and on October 1st, the overseas league begins its new season.

It could be possible that he'll wear an EV Zug uniform again. Zug's sporting director, Jakub Horak, says, "We don't have any plans with Brunner. But of course we could make a gentleman's agreement."

It's possible that the agreement could go from game-to-game, so that Brunner could leave at any time. But what if Bern, Freibourg or Lugano also made the goal-scoring phenom an offer? Perhaps with even better terms? It's presumed that EV Zug would be contractually protected from such offers.

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Nathan's avatar

This year we have this artificial cap that is forcing some pretty good NHL-level players, like Brunner, into tough spots. Wouldn’t it be funny if he held out for more money on the open market, couldn’t get it in the NHL, plays the year with Zug, and then next season when the cap bounces back up, and the Wings have four UFA forwards… they sign him?

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 09/04/13 at 09:23 AM ET

Primis's avatar

I think if Brunner had wanted to be a Wing, it would have happened.  He doesn’t want to be a Wing, he wants to get paid.

Posted by Primis on 09/04/13 at 11:14 AM ET

SYF's avatar

You’re drunk, Brunner.  Go home.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 09/04/13 at 12:00 PM ET


Someone from Switzerland on the HFBoards mentioned that Brunner was looking for a top-6 spot and Red Wings couldn’t ensure that, which is why he decided to hit free agency.

Posted by Sandra from Trollhättan, Sweden on 09/04/13 at 01:50 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.


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