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Damien Brunner - Value? Comparables?


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#1 StormJH1

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 10:52 AM

When the Wings first signed Brunner, some media people took to derisively calling him "Fabian Brunner", referencing Dallas (and later Detroit) player Fabian Brunnstrom.  Brunnstrom had a hat trick in one of his early games, and 17 goals in a 55-game season.  He quickly burned out afterwards and is now overseas.

 

At first, the Brunner comparisons to Brunnstrom looked ridiculous.  Brunner looks quite skilled and is comfortable with the puck.  He's also a right-handed shot, which is a valuable commodity on the Wings.

 

But since then, (and despite a respectable 11G/11A overall), things haven't been as good:

 

http://sports.yahoo....8_l7qQFX.xivLYF

 

Other than the 8-3 Vancouver game (which was just a complete collapse), can you find an "elite" performance in there?  He went over a month without scoring a goal, despite being a fixture with Zetterberg or on one of the top two lines (and a lot of power play time). 

 

I want Damien Brunner back, for sure.  But how do you value him?  This guy looks kind of like Jiri Hudler to me.  He looks like one of those guys who has a whole box of tools, but doesn't have that ability see what's going to happen one or two seconds later on the ice, like the great scorers and playmakers do.  A two- or three- year deal for a modest amount ($2.5 million per?  $3 million per?) might be the best for both the Wings and Brunner at this point, though that does leave him a UFA at age 30, which might make it hard for him to ever cash in on that long-term big deal.



#2 evilzyme

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 11:31 AM

I think his hockey sense is strong, as it's one of his best qualities. Right now he's simply trying to get adjusted to smaller ice which is a big deal. At first he had the headway with the other overseas players with conditioning compared to the other players whom did not play during the lockout. Right now he's dealing with adjusting to a smaller ice surface, a more gritter game, faster decision making, longer distances of travel, and the most hockey he's played during his career. I think next year, should he re-sign with us, will be the real telling season for Brunner. At the same time he wasn't scoring goals during that stretch, he was still putting in assist. He was helping the play. 

 

The most assuring, or at-least a great quality I see in Brunner is his willingness to adapt and change his game. From the start of the season up until present day, I can see that he works more aggressively on the forecheck. He has more drive, doesn't float as much as he did originally. He knows that he has to keep moving. Defensively he's a worlds of a difference from when he first started. He isn't stellar, but he can actually hold accountable of his man.


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#3 Carman

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 11:36 AM

He's a younger Samuelsson from 05-06 very good secondary scorer, not quite top line material. With a little more speed, and less strength and defensive responsiblity.

 

His ceiling may be higher, but he's still 27, so not that much time to grow.

 

Excited to have him though, he's a great addition and very good player.



#4 MibJab

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 11:41 AM

I think he's got one or two more mediocre NHL seasons left in him. He's got speed but damn, the kids as skinny as a twig (ever seen him in person?) . Not built for the NHL. He was just a quick fix, low risk, high reward. I like him, but I don't think he'll get much further in his career in North America...hopefully I'm wrong and after all, this is only his first attempt at pro hockey. I think he would benefit from some AHL time. 



#5 Hiei

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 11:44 AM

Getting the team fully healthy would be a start though.  Also, the compressed short schedule has burned out a lot of rookies.  Even Conacher who had an equally fast start got dealt from TB to Ottawa.  None of the rookies have looked terribly impressive this year, because there's a lot of burnout going around, like the smell of freshly burnt-in silicon chips and ozone.  


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#6 Carman

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 11:46 AM

I think he's got one or two more mediocre NHL seasons left in him. He's got speed but damn, the kids as skinny as a twig (ever seen him in person?) . Not built for the NHL. He was just a quick fix, low risk, high reward. I like him, but I don't think he'll get much further in his career in North America...hopefully I'm wrong and after all, this is only his first attempt at pro hockey. I think he would benefit from some AHL time. 

I completely disagree, you don't need to be a 220 6'2 guy to be a good NHLer. Plenty of good players are under 6'0 and under 190. Brunner isn't that weak, he is a very good NHL player, he has great skating ability, laser shot, and very good effort on the ice. He is most certainly NHL material, he's just not a top line player at this point in his career. He's a great 3rd liner, and a good 2nd liner in spurts. He definitely has the potential to be more, and I have seen it at times, but it's not been a consistent dominance that you see in other top line wingers.



#7 ogreslayer

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 11:48 AM

I think his hockey sense is strong, as it's one of his best qualities. Right now he's simply trying to get adjusted to smaller ice which is a big deal. At first he had the headway with the other overseas players with conditioning compared to the other players whom did not play during the lockout. Right now he's dealing with adjusting to a smaller ice surface, a more gritter game, faster decision making, longer distances of travel, and the most hockey he's played during his career. I think next year, should he re-sign with us, will be the real telling season for Brunner. At the same time he wasn't scoring goals during that stretch, he was still putting in assist. He was helping the play. 

 

The most assuring, or at-least a great quality I see in Brunner is his willingness to adapt and change his game. From the start of the season up until present day, I can see that he works more aggressively on the forecheck. He has more drive, doesn't float as much as he did originally. He knows that he has to keep moving. Defensively he's a worlds of a difference from when he first started. He isn't stellar, but he can actually hold accountable of his man.

 

Having seen quotes, interviews, etc. from & about Brunner, I think the bigger issue for him this year has been the grind of the schedule/travel, not the smaller ice surface.  He would have had adjust to that regardless but it was made extra tough by how condensed the schedule was due to the lockout.  Give him a full, normally spaced out regular season & I think he'll be fine.



#8 DSM

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 11:52 AM

Brunnstrom's hat trick actually came in his NHL debut.

 

I think Brunner's struggles are linked to the unusual structure of his first season. They always keep pointing out that he's never had to travel this much, or play as much in one year. Combine that with the fact that he didn't get a full training camp or any exhibition games to get used to NHL ice, and I think that's the answer to his recent struggles.

 

I think they should give him an affordable 2 year deal, and see how much better he gets next season.



#9 DSM

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 11:57 AM

Getting the team fully healthy would be a start though.  Also, the compressed short schedule has burned out a lot of rookies.  Even Conacher who had an equally fast start got dealt from TB to Ottawa.  None of the rookies have looked terribly impressive this year, because there's a lot of burnout going around, like the smell of freshly burnt-in silicon chips and ozone.  

 

I don't think Conacher getting burnt out is what led to him being dealt, though. He was just the price to get a goalie that a whole bunch of teams wanted.



#10 StormJH1

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 12:22 PM

Brunnstrom's hat trick actually came in his NHL debut.

 

I think Brunner's struggles are linked to the unusual structure of his first season. They always keep pointing out that he's never had to travel this much, or play as much in one year. Combine that with the fact that he didn't get a full training camp or any exhibition games to get used to NHL ice, and I think that's the answer to his recent struggles.

 

I think they should give him an affordable 2 year deal, and see how much better he gets next season.

 

I hadn't addressed the point about the condensed season and additional travel.  That probably is a contributing factor.  But between Zug and the Wings, he's played 68 games thus far.  It will end up being roughly the same as a regular NHL season, which he hasn't done before.

 

But I do think fans forget that he's 27, not 22 or 24.  Does Jay Bouwmeester break down if the Blues make a 20-game run into the Playoffs, since he's only accustomed to playing 82 every year?  At some point, you are what you are as an athlete.  He's been a professional hockey player for many years, playing games every few days.  It just so happens that he'll be asked to play 82 (next year) instead of around 50.  Is Brunner going to do something different in the offeseason to prepare for that difference in length?  Is there anything you can do months in advance that would make a difference?  Maybe Datsyuk will show him his "secret workouts".

 

Agreed on the 2-year deal.  I think get him to do that because having Zetterberg as a fixture here was part of the draw here to begin with.  If the deal were unbelievably reasonable (under $3 mil AAV), I'd consider 3 or 4 years, but if I'm his agent, I'd probably advise him against that.  I've missed a few of the recent Wings games but what I saw from him earlier in the year looked like a guy that could be a 30 goal scorer, but was just having a little trouble finishing.  The overall quality of goaltending in the NHL is one of the underappreciated differences between our league and the European leagues.



I don't think Conacher getting burnt out is what led to him being dealt, though. He was just the price to get a goalie that a whole bunch of teams wanted.

Yes, absolutely not.  Most people were of the opinion that Yzerman got FLEECED in that deal, especially given that Martin St. Louis was probably the perfect person to help Conacher overcome his small size.  Lightning were frustrated with his two-way game a little, but dude has skill.



#11 Johnz96

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 12:25 PM

He's a younger Samuelsson from 05-06 very good secondary scorer, not quite top line material. With a little more speed, and less strength and defensive responsiblity.

 

His ceiling may be higher, but he's still 27, so not that much time to grow.

 

Excited to have him though, he's a great addition and very good player.

He is nothing like Samuelsson



#12 Carman

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 12:34 PM

He is nothing like Samuelsson


Production and time played, powerplay position, shoot first mentality. It's a good conparable, and its not a knock on Brunner at all, Samuelson is a very good NHLer just like Brunner. If Brunner can produce over .80 ppg over 70 or so games you can feel free to classify him as a top line winger.

#13 Esquire

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 12:37 PM

Offer him a 2 year contract at $2M per season and if he balks at it, wish him well and cut ties.

 

These undrafted pickups are always a gamble and it doesn't help his case that it's a shortened season in which he has only performed in front of half the NHL's teams.


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#14 Z Winged Dangler

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 12:38 PM

I think he's got one or two more mediocre NHL seasons left in him. He's got speed but damn, the kids as skinny as a twig (ever seen him in person?) . Not built for the NHL. He was just a quick fix, low risk, high reward. I like him, but I don't think he'll get much further in his career in North America...hopefully I'm wrong and after all, this is only his first attempt at pro hockey. I think he would benefit from some AHL time. 

 He's under 30 years old and is about a .65 ppg player in his 1st (partial) NHL season playing on a smaller ice surface, against bigger more physical guys and on a Wings team that unlike in the past CAN'T SCORE WORTH A DAMN!  If Brunner was on a team with better scoring top 6 guys, he'd be a point per game.  Side note, Martin St. Louis is 5'8, and Theo Fleury was 5'6.  Size is the worst argument in hockey for scorers.  Sure I'd love a power forward, but you can be small and successful.  Crosby is under 6'0, Z, Dats, Duchene and so on.  Those guys find ways to compete with the larger guys and given a couple seasons and lots of practice and a summer in an NHL weight room, Brunner will too.  Next year I say he gets 35 goals and 70 points.


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#15 MibJab

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 01:21 PM

 He's under 30 years old and is about a .65 ppg player in his 1st (partial) NHL season playing on a smaller ice surface, against bigger more physical guys and on a Wings team that unlike in the past CAN'T SCORE WORTH A DAMN!  If Brunner was on a team with better scoring top 6 guys, he'd be a point per game.  Side note, Martin St. Louis is 5'8, and Theo Fleury was 5'6.  Size is the worst argument in hockey for scorers.  Sure I'd love a power forward, but you can be small and successful.  Crosby is under 6'0, Z, Dats, Duchene and so on.  Those guys find ways to compete with the larger guys and given a couple seasons and lots of practice and a summer in an NHL weight room, Brunner will too.  Next year I say he gets 35 goals and 70 points.

 

 

I don't know about your comparisons. I understand you were making size comparisons, but you just compared Brunner to some of the best small guys to ever suit up. As for the .65 points per game...That's only applicable to the first half of this short season. The guy has been non existent for about a month or two. Once the league got in shape and up to speed, he's vanished. He doesn't even get many scoring chances. I mean, as for the Red Wings sake, they love small skilled forwards that can skate their hearts out on the perimeter, and take really hard shots from the boards..But that's not gonna cut it in this league. I'm also kind of tired of hearing "if he was on a line with a better scorer, or a team with better scoring" No, bad excuse. Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Filpulla, those guys are the scorers, they shouldn't need a top 3 top 6 guy to make them produce more. It should be the other way around, they should be the ones making other guys produce. Aside from Datsyuk, If I was the coach, I wouldn't be please with any of these guys. A guy like Zetterberg, when his scoring falls off (which it does ever year, until the playoffs), he's got great defensive play to keep him on top of the ranks. As for Brunner, Franzen, if they arent scoring they are almost absolutely useless. We have guys like Cleary, Abdelkader, Bertuzzi, Sammuelsson to reap the benefits of our top guys hard work...A guy like Brunner should be replaced with someone that will alone create some space in the middle of the ice instead of rocketeering along the outside and getting benefited from his line mates harder work on the inside.  Thats just my opionion, I respect and understand that others wont see it this way. 



#16 VM1138

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 03:33 PM

His hockey sense and on ice vision and his nose for the net are what makes him different from Brunnstrom.  That and the fact that he seems committed to the system.  Let's not forget his offensive output dropped not only when the team started sucking, but when he started improving his defensive game.

 

Whenever a scorer focuses on his defense, his goal scoring output drops.  He'll come around.  Hopefully by the end of the season, but next year he'll be in great shape.

 

EDIT: People also forget he's played like 80 games so far this season, while a great many other players haven't.  Is it also a coincidence that Zetterberg and Brunner both dropped off around the same time?  They're exhausted.  This is especially relevant to Brunner, who hasn't played this long of a season, has to adjust to a new team, a new league, and is adding new elements to his playing style.


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#17 GoalieManPat

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 03:36 PM

Other than the 8-3 Vancouver game (which was just a complete collapse), can you find an "elite" performance in there?  He went over a month without scoring a goal, despite being a fixture with Zetterberg or on one of the top two lines (and a lot of power play time). 

 

Sounds a lot like Franzen to me. So based off that Im sure his next contract value will be to much for to long.



#18 The Axe

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 03:56 PM

He's like a new NFL running back right after 10 games now. His legs are shot. Too many games this year. They should have played him less often this year. Watch his 2nd and third seasons. Better to judge him then.

#19 PavelValerievichDatsyuk

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 04:04 PM

I don't know about your comparisons. I understand you were making size comparisons, but you just compared Brunner to some of the best small guys to ever suit up. As for the .65 points per game...That's only applicable to the first half of this short season. The guy has been non existent for about a month or two. Once the league got in shape and up to speed, he's vanished. He doesn't even get many scoring chances. I mean, as for the Red Wings sake, they love small skilled forwards that can skate their hearts out on the perimeter, and take really hard shots from the boards..But that's not gonna cut it in this league. I'm also kind of tired of hearing "if he was on a line with a better scorer, or a team with better scoring" No, bad excuse. Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Filpulla, those guys are the scorers, they shouldn't need a top 3 top 6 guy to make them produce more. It should be the other way around, they should be the ones making other guys produce. Aside from Datsyuk, If I was the coach, I wouldn't be please with any of these guys. A guy like Zetterberg, when his scoring falls off (which it does ever year, until the playoffs), he's got great defensive play to keep him on top of the ranks. As for Brunner, Franzen, if they arent scoring they are almost absolutely useless. We have guys like Cleary, Abdelkader, Bertuzzi, Sammuelsson to reap the benefits of our top guys hard work...A guy like Brunner should be replaced with someone that will alone create some space in the middle of the ice instead of rocketeering along the outside and getting benefited from his line mates harder work on the inside.  Thats just my opionion, I respect and understand that others wont see it this way. 

He didn't compare Brunner to St. Louis, Fleury, etc. He was just giving examples of undersized hockey players showing that size isn't everything.



#20 Dabura

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 04:39 PM

All things considered, he's doing much better than I (and many others, I'm sure) had expected. The Swiss league he hails from is nothing compared to the NHL. This "season" is ridiculous (by NHL standards), and it's wearing down guys who are legitimate NHLers. Franzen, our vaunted Goaling-Scoring Power Forward, isn't exactly tearing things up. Datsyuk and Zetterberg (and maybe Kronwall) have basically thrown the team on their backs. Are we going to get on Brunner's case because he's not Datsyuk or Zetterberg? And, hey, Datsyuk and Zetterberg though he may not be, he is, what, second in goals on our team? I get that you sort of have to "put those goals in context," or whatever, but, at the same time, goals are goals, numbers are numbers, we can use all the help we can get, and I see no reason to ride this guy especially hard. I mean, what happened to Filppula? Remember him? Anyone seen him lately? Perhaps he fell down a well?


Edited by Dabura, 09 April 2013 - 04:41 PM.

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