Boy, has Damien Brunner gone from hot to cold for the New Jersey Devils in a hurry this season.
Brunner sat out of the Devils only victory so far this season, a 4-0 defeat over the New York Rangers, with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. The nagging soreness that made him miss that game could be the reason for his fall off in productivity over his last few games.
The Swiss forward came into his first season with the Devils and second in the NHL registering 20 shots on goal, three goals and two assists through five games.
The hot-start was making all of the General Managers that passed up on Brunner look foolish .Especially at the $2.5-million a year the Devils signed him for. It was like a clearance sale that only Lou Lamoriello cashed in on.
Since then though, Brunner has dropped in his last three games in shots on goal (two ), points (zero) and minutes of play.
He returned to the lineup in Tuesdays loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets and was limited to 11:13 minutes on the ice. A season low for Brunner.
So should Peter DeBoer rethink his lineup?
If it is the shoulder injury that is causing him to play fewer minutes, it may be better for Brunner and the team in the long run to insert one of the healthy options rather than watching Brunner continue to struggle.
Mattias Tedenby and Jacob Josefson will be the healthy scratches tonight when the Devils return to the Prudential Center to face off against the Vancouver Canucks for the second and final time this season. The Devils lost in overtime when the two met earlier this month at Rogers Arena.
Tedenby started the season with a lower body injury which caused him to miss the first six games and has played in three since being activated from the injured, non-roster player list. Josefson on the other hand may have found the only way to stay healthy for the first time in his short career, but not the way he would like to do it. A healthy scratch for most of the season to this point, Josefson has appeared in just two games for the Devils.
With a goal differential of -12 and a desperate need to find their way out of the bottom of the East, it would be in the Devils best interest to not just play their best 20 players, but their healthiest players as well.
Brunner enters his ninth game with the Devils tonight as the third highest scoring player (3-5-8) on the team behind Marek Zidlicky (0-7-7) and Jaromir Jagr (2-4-6).