The Malik Report
by George Malik on 09/16/13 at 05:30 PM ET
I hate to say it, but the whole dang hockey world called it. When the New Jersey Devils let Ilya Kovalchuk "retire" to avoid a massive NHL-KHL showdown and get that huge contract off the Devils' books, it was assumed that Damien Brunner would be joining the Devils.
And, wouldn't you know it, via RedWingsFeed...
via Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice,
Less than a week into training camp, the Devils have decided to bring in speedy center Damien Brunner as an unsigned tryout
Brunner is at the Devils’ preseason opener tonight against the Rangers at Prudential Center. Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said Brunner will join the team for practice Tuesday.The Swiss-born Brunner, 27, had 12 goals and 14 assists in 44 games last season with the Detroit Red Wings and added five goals and four assists in 14 playoff contests, but was unable to find an NHL team to sign him as an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Brunner was linked to the Devils by reports out of Switzerland in July, but a contract never materialized. Neither Devils GM Lou Lamoriello nor Brunner’s agent, Neil Sheehy could be reached for comment.
Here's the report from the Neue Zuger Zeitung (translated):
The New Jersey Devils of the NHL have invited Damien Brunner to their final training camp before the start of the NHL regular season on October 1st. It was speculated that he might sign with the Devils this summer
For the former Kloten [Flyer] and [EV Zug] player, the invitation of the Devils, "Presents a great challenge." He feels absolutely ready for it. After a hard summer's worth of training, he gained not only muscle mass, but also better acceleration. As he continues to get used to the NHL-sized ice, he'll have better opportunities to create scoring chances and score goals. Lou Lamoriello, who's been the general manager of the New Jersey Devils for several decades, is convinced of the capabilities of the Swiss forward.
Update: From the Newark Star-Ledger's Rich Chere:
"He'll be here and will practice tomorrow," GM Lou Lamoriello said. "We had inquired about him early in the year. We certainly have seen him in Detroit. We know a little bit about him from the Swiss League.
"We thought through the summer he would be signing. We said if it did not work out we'd be very interested in taking him to camp. When it looked like he hadn't gotten a contract we communicated, kept our word and he's here."
Brunner, from Oberlunkhofen, Switzerland, is 5-10, 176 pounds. An unrestricted free agent, he had been looking for a multi-year contract for about $2.5 million per season.
"He's a natural scorer. He's scored throughout his whole career," Lamoriello noted. "He's a very skillful player. We'll have time over the next week and a half to see where everything is at. We'll certainly get him into exhibition games and we'll proceed after that. There are no promises, no guarantees. It's a very up-front situation."
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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.