DETROIT — Forward Damien Brunner is skating with other NHLers in Minnesota and should arrive in Detroit when players begin skating on their own within the next couple of weeks.
“Brunner will get acclimatized and comfortable,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He’ll go back to play in Switzerland is there is no CBA.”
Brunner, who signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Wings this offseason, could earn $1.35 million this season if he stays in Detroit. His base salary is $925,000 and he will get a $92,500 signing bonus. There are also $425,000 in performance bonuses he could earn.
If he doesn’t make the team he will earn $70,000 in Grand Rapids.
Brunner led the Swiss League in scoring last season.
“He’ll be a top six forward to start with us and see where he goes with us,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said of the Swiss-sniper. “I know a lot about him because I went to the World Championships and watched him play.
“The thing for us is he’s high paced, he scored, he looks like he has tons of skill,” Babcock added. “Can he adjust and play in the North American game? We’re going to give him every opportunity.”
The Wings also like that Brunner is a right-handed shot.
“Our top six, (Johan) Franzen and (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg and (Valtteri Filppula) are all left-hand shots, this is a right-hand shot, who plays fast,” Babcock said.
Brunner, 26, is a fast-skating, highly skilled winger that totaled 24 goals and 34 assists in 45 games with Zug of Switzerland’s National League A.
Babcock also envisions Brunner playing on the power play.
“He loves to score goals,” Babcock said. “The way I look at it is that you have to make decisions and try to get better. We’ve been able to encourage the kid to join us. He could have gone anywhere he wanted, he chose to be a Red Wing.”