Damien Brunner came in this year from Swiss leagues and started his season with guns a blazing. He came to the team as a young guy who had developed some chemistry with Zetterberg but found himself on the third line by the end of the season together with young studs Nyquist and Anderson. Now that were into the off season the Wings are left with the decision of what to do with the young (27) forward going forward into next season. Brunner finished this season third on the team scoring goals, he managed to net 12 goals over the course of the 44 games he played while also 14 assists while on the ice. Brunner also finished 5th on the team in total points, right behind the teams leadership (Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Kronwall) which is pretty good company to be in. So by numbers it’s hard to argue that the guy hasn’t been productive. I know I’ve said it before but I still think a lot of the struggles that Brunner saw when he was in his mid season slump can be attributed to a mix of switching from a Swiss league and hitting the ground running with the Wings without the benefit of having a training camp or preseason to acclimate him to the NHL. So what’s the hold up? Right now, according to the Free Press, exactly what you would expect negotiations to be about, money and length of contract. Brunner wants to have a longer term contract to stay with the Wings, and honestly who can blame him? Regardless of Brunner’s hot start I think once he came out of his slum he got better as the season went on. So, in theory, keeping him in the same system should be a good thing right? However I’m generally not a big fan of giving huge contracts in terms of length, I think that should be reserved for only a few elite players on ever team, we’re talking 3 or 4 guys that should be signed for 5+ years. Contracts that extend that long simply have to many ways they come back to bite you (you could arguably make this statement about Franzen and his contract). I want to see Brunner stick around and I’m ok with the Wings giving him a raise in regards to his yearly salary, but I think until we see a full season (not lockout shortened) from Brunner Detroit should be careful about committing to him for a longer period of time that 3 season. The buzz is that the team and Brunner will be working on negotiations with him over this weekend, and I have a feeling that by next Monday we will be seeing an answer to the question about Brunner and next season. For me, I’d like to see him wearing #24 in Detroit for the next 2 seasons and hopefully work his way back to the 2nd line.