Well, that didn’t take long.
Just one week after joining the Devils on a professional try out, Damien Brunner has inked a multi-year extension with New Jersey, the club announced on Tuesday.
According to Brunner’s agent, Neil Sheehy, it’s a two-year pact worth $5 million, carrying an average annual cap hit of $2.5 million.
“I’m really excited about being a Devil and sticking around,” Brunner told the team website. “I believed that I could come over [from Switzerland], prove myself and get a contract.
“That’s what happened and I’m really happy about it.”
Brunner, 27, spent last season in Detroit — his first in the NHL — and finished third on the Red Wings in goals (12) and fifth in points (26).
Despite that successful campaign, the Swiss forward couldn’t secure a new deal from the Wings and went without a contract for much of the summer.
There had been reports he was contemplating a return to Switzerland’s National League A — he spent the 2011-12 season with Zug, led the league in scoring and was named forward of the year — but in mid-August, his agent (Neil Sheehy) said Brunner would play in the NHL this season.
On Sept. 16, New Jersey brought Brunner to camp on a PTO and he’s proceeded to look good in game action, notching two assists in Satruday’s 3-0 exhbition win over the Islanders.
The new multi-year deal makes sense on a variety of fronts. The Devils are in need of scoring up front after finishing 28th in the NHL in goals per game (2.29) last season. What’s more, the club had nearly $4 million in available cap space following Ilya Kovalchuk’s shock retirement with 14 years and $77 million left on his contract.
One question that still needs to be answered: What will the Devils do with 16 forwards now under contract?
Lamoriello admitted he’s got some work to do now to get down to 13 or 14 forwards with Brunner on board now. Called it a “good problem.”
— Tom Gulitti (@TGfireandice) September 24, 2013