“Yes, there are NHL teams interested in signing Brunner and yes, I’m sure, when I say that Damien will play next season in the NHL.”
When Ilya Kovalchuk retired, The Devils seemed like they would be the perfect fit for the right-handed sniper, but as time went on it looked less and less likely and then the Devils decided to sign Jaromir Jagr instead.
As rosters begin to be finalized and training camps are getting closer it seems more and more likely that Brunner will have to take a diminished role and less pay than he originally wanted.
But even with lowering his expectations, it seems as though he will have a tough go at finding a job in the NHL for next season.
There are several teams that could use him if the price was right; The Ducks, The Sabres, The Predators, The Flames and maybe a couple other teams.
The Ducks would be interested in Brunner to help offset the loss of Bobby Ryan, but he could also fill Teemu Selanne‘s role if he ends up retiring this season. Filling Teemu Selanne’s role would be the ideal spot for Brunner because he would not be counted on to score all of the time and he would be given a lot of power play time.
There might not be room for him to join the Ducks though if Teemu Selanne decides to rejoin the team and because of the additions they received in the Bobby Ryan trade.
The Sabres traded Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild during the trade deadline, which means that they have an opening on the right-wing for a right-handed shot.
More than likely the Sabres are not the team for him because of pay, the fact that he would not be able to replace Pominville, and because that the Sabres would still need another player to help offset the loss of Pominville.
The Predators have always lacked scoring and their last couple additions, Alexander Radulov and Sergei Kostitsyn, have not worked out well for them, but a player like Brunner who wants to play in the NHL and does everything right could help them for years to come.
Sadly the Predators are currently at their roster limit and would not have room for Brunner without making some moves. The other issue is that the Predators like to promote players from in-house and rarely bring in free agents.
One of the last teams that could use Brunner is the Calgary Flames. The Flames are no amateurs to signing former Red Wings, having signed Jiri Hudler after last season, and Brunner could be the player to help offset the losses of Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay.
Damien Brunner’s options are slimming and his asking price continues to be too high for teams to take a gamble on him. There will be moves to be made after Training Camp after GMs get a closer look at their teams and what they could do to improve them, but with this little amount of time left before the start of the 2013-14 season there is not much hope for Brunner.