Pete DeBoer has frustrated members of his New Jersey Devils squad this season with the way he has managed his bench, but Damien Brunner seems to be the biggest repeat offender on DeBoer's naughty list.
According to Tom Gulitti of The Record, Brunner will be a healthy scratch for the third time this season when the Devils host Brunner's former team, the Detroit Red Wings tonight at the Prudential Center.
"I think the lesson for Brunner is he's got to do a little bit more in order to be in the lineup," DeBoer said following the pre-game skate on Friday.
The fact that Brunner isn't getting the chance to play against his old teammates, a game any player would get pumped up for, speaks volumes. DeBoer wasn't shy on pointing that out either.
" I think that probably tells you the point where we're at with him where he's not in tonight."
Brunner signed a two-year deal with New Jersey prior to the beginning of the season and made an instant impact, tallying three goals along with two assists in his first five games. Since then the Swiss forward has just three points.
The Devils as a whole have struggled to put pucks in the net, but Brunner struggles to make up for his lack of production in other aspects of the game. Often times the he looks lost on the ice and incapable of being effective without the puck. Unfortunately for him, he's also not very good at finding the puck and relies on his teammates to do a lot of the dirty work.
Aside from being deficient offensively, Brunner lacks physicality and has registered a whopping six hits this season. That is fewer than any regular in the Devils lineup, other than Jaromir Jagr (1).
The last player to disappoint the Devils was summoned to Albany (AHL) and eventually would part ways with the Devils organization completely. Whether or not Brunner becomes the latest of the growing list of players to not finish out their contract with New Jersey will remain to be seen.
In the meantime, Cam Janssen will remain in the Devils lineup.