The New Jersey Devils continue their search to find replacements for the offence that left when Ilya Kovalchuk shockingly “retired” on the team this summer. They have invited Swiss winger and former Detroit Red Wing Damien Brunner to training camp on a Professional Try Out (PTO) contract basis.
The 27-year-old Brunner joined the Red Wings last season after a number of years as a scoring sensation in the Swiss Elite League. He put up 12 goals and 14 assists for 26 points in 44 games for Detroit last season.
Pierre Lebrun of TSN is reporting that Brunner will join the Devils on Tuesday.
Brunner is a good skater, with quick stickhandling and an underrated shot and playmaking ability. Brunner can provide offense, but questions about his size and defensive game remain. The Red Wings who have 16 forwards under NHL contract were willing to let Brunner go this summer.
The Devils have signed Michael Ryder, Ryan Clowe, and Jaromir Jagr this offseason, while losing Kovalchuk, and David Clarkson. It remains to be seen if the new additions will be able to match (and add to) an offence that was anemic at times last season, and a major reason why the Devils missed the playoffs after reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2012.
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