Detroit Red Wings rookie Damien Brunner, who scored his sixth goal of the season Sunday, continues to be ignored in far too many fantasy hockey leagues, despite ranking within the top-60 in standard scoring after the first few weeks of play.
Brunner is off to a hot start; he needs to be on your fantasy hockey team
Traditionally, fantasy hockey players would like to see a longer window of consistent play out of a first-year player before diving in. However, the abbreviated NHL season forces fantasy hockey players to act quicker on players showing flashes because the window of opportunity is so much smaller. After 12 games of play for the Red Wings, Brunner has proven to be far more than a flash in the pan.
The Wings have a lot of faith in the 26-year-old, as he regularly sees first-line work, often drawing playing time with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Brunner likes to sit close to the crease and has shown nifty stick handling skills and that he is more than capable of getting the puck around opposing netminders.
Hockey 101: You can't score if you don't shoot. Brunner hasn't been afraid to put the puck on the net, having multiple games of four-plus shots on goal. He has scored a goal in 50 percent of his games, averaging 0.5 goals per game through Feb. 10.
Brunner is no stranger to piling up points. In his past three seasons playing for the EV Zug-Swiss, Brunner was better than a point-per-game player. In 2011-12, he had 24 goals and 60 points in just 45 games. His distribution of the puck could improve, as he has just three assists on the season. However, he has made some pretty, tape-to-tape passes to help his teammates put the puck in the net.
Brunner is contributing to multiple categories, which is always a major positive. He consistently sees time on special teams, which is further proof the team has considerable confidence in him, and has recorded one goal and three points on the power play.
Players eligible at multiple positions are always an added bonus in fantasy hockey. Brunner currently qualifies for both center and right wing in Yahoo! Fantasy Hockey leagues, giving you extra flexibility with your roster, which can never be ignored.
Playing on the top lines for the Wings also puts Brunner in a sound situation to avoid many negative nights in the plus-minus column. This further adds to his multi-category strength, which only continues to give him even more value in all league formats.
Owned in less than 50 percent of leagues polled, Brunner needs to be acquired - and played regularly - in all formats. If he's available in your league, stop the madness and add him to your roster immediately.
About Ryan R. Bonini
Founding KFFL in 1996, Bonini now serves as VP of Fantasy Sports Solutions for USA
TODAY SPORTS, KFFL's parent company. Bonini was named 2009 Fantasy Football Writer
of the Year by the FSWA,
received honors with the Best Fantasy Football Series in '10 and was named into their Hall of Fame in '13.
His work has been found in USA TODAY Sports, Yahoo!
Sports, FOX Sports, CBS Sports, NFL.com, and many others. He has also been featured
on numerous radio programs around the country. Bonini is a member of the PFWA,
FSWA and FSTA.
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