One of the biggest shocks of this offseason is that Damien Brunner has not yet signed with an NHL team.
The center, who can play on the right wing, is just 27 and scored a decent 12 goals and 26 points with the Red Wings last year. However, Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reported that his $3.5-million price tag has been a holdup in negotiations with Detroit—and apparently other teams.
It all makes about as much sense as a hypothetical scenario in which the Wings pry Daniel Alfredsson away from the city in which he played his entire career and started a family for less money than he was being offered by the Ottawa Senators.
According to Cap Geek, the Wings are paying Alfredsson the same $3.5 million that Brunner reportedly requested as well as $2 million in bonuses.
Did we mention that Alfredsson is 40 years old, plays the same position as Brunner and had two fewer goals last year (exact same amount of points)?
Admittedly, Brunner slumped it up during the last half of the regular season, once going 15 games without scoring. However, if Alfredsson can earn $5.5 million, Brunner is certainly worth $3.5 million.
More importantly, at that price, Brunner is definitely a player the Habs should have at least considered before jumping the gun prior to the start of free agency and signing the bought-out Daniel Briere.
Yes, that Briere, who scored just six goals and 16 points last year. The Briere who is shorter, thinner, nine years older and makes $4 million.
Maybe there’s something that went wrong behind the scenes in Detroit with Brunner.
Whatever it is, can it really be worse than Briere snubbing Montreal six years ago to sign with the Philadelphia Flyers and then having an about-face only after getting tossed aside like yesterday’s trash?
The Habs have a great deal of depth, but the right side could use some work, even taking into consideration Brendan Gallagher’s great rookie season last year.
Brunner would make for a great secondary scoring option, at least a better one than Briere, who can similarly be moved to center should the Habs magically get the chance to sign the former.
Brunner is no doubt a question mark. Briere is no answer, though.