Monday, December 3, 2012

Wild All Time Top 10: #4-Andrew Brunette

Andrew Brunette
Seasons With The Wild: 6
Goals: 119
Assists: 202
Points: 321

Following the Wild's inaugural season of 2000-01, they signed little know free agent forward Andrew Brunette to a 3 year contract. Brunette had just come off two seasons spent with the Atlanta Thrashers, in which he had scored 50 and 59 points respectively. Brunette came to the team, and became an anchor on their top scoring and power play lines.

Brunette never was gifted with his feet. So he had to make up for that, with his hands. Brunette was one of the more able stick handlers in the history of the franchise, and made a nice living around or behind the net, setting up scoring opportunities. He also was rarely injured, playing in all but 3 games of his 6 seasons in Minny.

In his first season with the Wild, he set a franchise record for most assists (48) and points (69) scored in a season (Both records have since been broken).

But Brunette's claim to fame with all Wild fans, of course, came in the 2003 Stanley Cup playoffs. In Game 7 of the Quarterfinals against Colorado, Brunette put on a display of patience and stick handling, and scored the overtime winning goal to send the Wild on to the next round. No goal has even come close to being as significant as Bruno's goal in that game.

Brunette was released following the 03-04 season, and spent the next 3 in Colorado, much to the torture of Wild fans (He took it to us pretty good in the 08 playoffs). But, the following summer, then GM Doug Risebrough admitted it was a mistake to let Brunette leave (A pretty easy thing to say when he scorched your team in the postseason), and brought him back on another 3 year deal.

Over the course of the 3 year deal, Brunette played no less than 80 games and averaged 22 goals and 31 assists in those 3 years, while anchoring the Wild's top line with Mikko Koivu and Antti Miettinen. Unfortunately for Bruno and the rest of us, the Wild could not get back in the playoffs during his second stint here.

When you think of top players, you certainly won't be thinking of Andrew Brunette. But he certainly was solid, and was consistent in giving you 20 goals and 35 assists from the second line.

But he comes in at #4, because he is the hero Minnesota Wild fans needed...

Check back tomorrow and see who comes in at #3!
#4-Andrew Brunette
#5-Brian Rolston
#6-Pierre-Marc Bouchard
#7-Niklas Backstrom
#8-Brent Burns
#9-Pavol Demitra
#10-Dwayne Roloson/Manny Fernandez

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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