Monday’s defeat of the Colorado Avalanche at Joe Louis Arena was exactly what Damien Brunner and the Detroit Red Wings needed. It also provided a glimpse of an offensive duo that could loom large in the future of the Red Wings.
The victory over the struggling Avalanche saw Damien Brunner snap his dry spell with a game winning goal in the second period. Not only was the goal important for the team, the setup was a thing of beauty, provided by young center Gustav Nyquist.
Brunner and Nyquist are new to one another, and their skills and attributes play well when they are put together. They are almost exactly the same size, and both are very fast skaters. Despite being listed as a center on the Red Wings team roster, Brunner has experience on the wing as well. Going forward, Nyquist and Brunner could develop into a 1-2 scoring punch much like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg have done in the past.
The setup from the game against the Avalanche was just one of many “Datsyukian” highlights from Nyquist. During his days in Grand Rapids, he lead the AHL in scoring before being recalled by the Red Wings.
Brunner led his Swiss league in scoring prior to joining the Red Wings, and was known for his speed and skill with the puck.
Granted, this season has seen Euro-Twins Datsyuk and Zertterberg playing apart from one another, the majority of their careers have been spent next to one another. Coach Babcock now has an opportunity to groom Brunner and Nyquist together for that role.
Nyquist has been praised for his high hockey IQ and his playmaking abilities, whereas Brunner’s scouting report highlights him for his ability to skate well and shoot the puck. Does that sound like two other important Red Wings?
Perhaps most important part of the development of these two players is the timing. With Henrik Zetterberg currently sidelined with a (minor) injury, and Pavel Datsyuk rumored to be looking back to Russia, new scoring is exactly what the Detroit Red Wings need.
While it might be a stretch to say that the Nyquist/Brunner connection will be as productive and dynamic as the Datsyuk and Zetterberg were at their peak, the combo has the potential to develop into a scoring threat to be wary of.