Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
As a skilled forward who is versatile enough to excel at even strength and on the power play as a top-six forward, Damien Brunner is surprisingly still unsigned.
Dave Pagnotta of The Fourth Period has reported that Brunner is seeking an annual average value (AAV) of $3 million in his new contract, which is actually a reasonable price to pay a young forward with goal-scoring skill, speed and grit.
He tallied 26 points in 44 regular-season games, then added nine points in 14 playoff games for the Red Wings during his rookie campaign.
Teams may be concerned about his ability to produce offensively on a consistent basis without playing alongside superstar center Henrik Zetterberg, who helped Brunner post impressive scoring totals in Switzerland during the lockout and in the NHL's 2013 season.
But as a third-line forward on a contending team, Brunner would give tremendous depth to a club that lacks the necessary amount of bottom-six scoring to make a serious run in the playoffs. Teams with four good lines often become champions—just look at the last three Stanley Cup winners.
Brunner may have expected to be signed a lot sooner, but as the top forward on the market, it probably won't be too long before a general manager decides to add this quality young player to his roster.
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