Monday, February 25, 2013
Brunner the top first-year player?
By Luke Lapinski
At 26 years of age with experience playing professionally in Switzerland already on is resume, Damien Brunner isn't eligible to win the Calder Trophy this season. If he was, however, it might very well be his race to lose.
Following yesterday's four-point outburst against Vancouver, the gifted forward now has 10 goals and six assists in his first 19 NHL games. That puts him at No. 1 in goals among first-year players, with only Cory Conacher of Tampa Bay ahead of him in total points (17). In fact, he's only three tallies behind Steven Stamkos and John Tavares for the overall NHL lead in goals.
In other words, Detroit may have done it again. The team that selected Pavel Datsyuk at No. 171 overall in the 1998 draft and Henrik Zetterberg at No. 210 in 1999 has found another offensive weapon who seems to have a knack for producing points. Granted, Brunner has a long, long way to go before he reaches their level of success in the league. But, considering the fact that he was never even drafted into the NHL, he's off to a pretty good start.