I wanted to like you. Really, I did. But 27 points in 78 games isn’t anything to write home about. The Chicago Blackhawks paid Andrew Brunette just under $75K per point this season. I do recall hearing something of quite the winning ways for the Hawks when Brunette’s name showed up on the scoresheet. The problem was, it wasn’t showing up there nearly enough. This is the 2nd biggest lemon of Stan Bowman’s first offseason with the Blackhawks behind only Michael Frolik in my opinion. Brunette was supposed to supply powerplay net presence and we all know that the Chicago powerplay would have had to improve to be terrible this season. At even strength, he never really had a fit here because he wasn’t quick enough to keep up with the puck possession play of a fast moving team. He was the most frustrating player for me to watch this past year.

Positives: As mentioned, when Brunette managed to score the Blackhawks generally won. Other than that, Brunette held very little use. He did skate some of the tougher minutes among forwards (6th) though I’m not too sure how. Brunette was not a mainstay on the top line very long, skated the most with Hossa and Kane at even strength and never held a spot on the Hawks third line. That was the problem with Brunette: he never showed a logical fit among any combination of teammates. On the powerplay, he did contribute at times but more often than not he was part of the zone entry problems. Again, because of his lack of speed. He did play through injury and managed to appear in 78 of the Hawks 82 games. I’d almost prefer that he didn’t.¬†Brunette didn’t add much and I’m not going to pretend like he did.

Negatives: More than anything for me it is actually his status as a veteran on a Joel Quenneville team so there was really no chance of him ever getting scratched. Q would trot him out there, try him with anyone and everyone. It was like watching that guy with the crinkled dollar bill stand at the vending machine for 15 minutes. He was slow, which I believe has been clearly stated to this point. His strength was to be winning board battles and getting pucks back into the slot for his teammates. He never did that particularly well once he made it to the corners. More often it was Brunette not even making it to the corners because two other forecheckers would get there first.

Defensively, he was a liability. While he did play some reasonably tough minutes only Andrew Shaw held a higher GA/60 on the team. Shaw’s a rookie and his game sample size was much smaller. Brunette constantly left his linemates out to dry in the Hawks end. Brunnete will not be missed and his $2M in cap will undoubtedly be better used in 2012-13. It’s hard to believe $2M going to less use.

Outlook: Brunette has no future with the Blackhawks but I can see a team that mucks it up and plays a very systematic offense game giving him a one year, low risk deal. Brunette would be wise to take any money an NHL team gives him but I wouldn’t be shocked if he hung it up for good.

Assessment: Brunette was never a fit at any point of the season for the Blackhawks at even strength. He provided some benefit on the powerplay but not enough to justify his existence in the lineup. The Blackhawks powerplay was dreadful as a whole. Brunette was a part of that. I would think that Stan Bowman has learned his lesson with how players like Brunette up front and Sean O’Donnell on the blue line work, or don’t work, on this team. Speed is a prerequisite for the style of hockey they play under Joel Quenneville. The current roster’s make up has just as much to do with that as the head coach.

  • Offense: 1.5 Indian Heads out of 4
  • Defense: I’m just going to say he got scalped here.
  • Special Teams: 2 Indian Heads out of 4
  • Intangibles: 2.5 Indian Heads out of 4
  • Overall: He just wasn’t a fit here. One Indian Head rating for me on Bruno.