The Detroit Free Press reports the Red Wings appear to have reeled in Damien Brunner, a sought-after European unrestricted free agent.
Swiss media is reporting Brunner will sign with the Wings, though he cannot officially do so until July 1. General manager Ken Holland told the Free Press the Wings have interest in Brunner, but “he’s under contract for ’12-’13, so we’ll see where it goes.”
Brunner may have an out negotiated with his Swiss team. However, there is no transfer agreement in place between the Swiss league and the NHL, so, basically, there’s a lot of paperwork ahead for the Wings, provided Brunner does not change his mind.
The Wings like Brunner and were one of many NHL teams – including Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington, Montreal and Philadelphia – who wooed him.
“Mike Babcock and I saw him play at the World Champions, and we liked what we saw,” Holland said. “He’s very talented.”
Brunner is 26 and a star scorer in the Swiss league. He led the league in scoring with 24 goals and 36 assists in 45 games last season. He had 46 points in 40 games in 20-10-11, and 23 goals among 58 points in ’09-10.
He isn’t a big guy – around 5-foot-10, 176 pounds – but he’s a good skater, stick-handler, has a good shot and shows grit around the net.
There’s little risk involved for the Wings if they sign Brunner, as he’d be under a one-year, two-way entry-level contract.