— Nicola Berger (@BergerNeueLZ) September 17, 2012
The Red Wings assigned Brunner, who signed this offseason as a free agent, to Grand Rapids so that he could continue playing in the organization during the NHL lockout. Brunner said earlier in September that he planned to suit up in the Swiss league prior to joining the Griffins:
“The three weeks (between the start of the expected lockout and the AHL season), there’s not really much to do here,” said Brunner, who skated for the first time with his new Wings teammates Tuesday. “I’d rather go back (to Switzerland) and get a couple of games, get in shape and get a good confidence level and get right into it.”
The 26-year-old Brunner spent the past four seasons playing for EV Zug, which competes in the Swiss-A League, the highest level of pro hockey in Switzerland.
Once the lockout comes to a close, the Red Wings expect Brunner to compete for a roster spot in Detroit. He led the Swiss-A League in scoring last season with 60 points (24 G, 36 A), and the Wings are hopeful that he can provide some of the offensive punch that the team has been missing in recent seasons.