The beloved son has returned. Andrew Brunette, the man who put legendary netminder Patrick Roy into retirement, has retired after an amazing 16-year NHL career. In addition to retiring, Brunette will suit up for Minnesota, though it’s likely he’ll be in a business suit, not a Wild sweater. “Bruno” has taken the position of Hockey Operations Advisor, and will assist Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher in all aspects of the team’s hockey operations. This includes scouting, free agent signings and assessing and developing the organization’s prospects at all levels.
Brunette notched 733 points—268 goals and 465 assists—in 1,110 games. Starting in the 1998-99 season going through 2011-12, the winger played in 1,048 regular season games, the most of any other NHLer in that timeframe, and missed just 18 games. Bruno also scored 114 power play goals, 32 game-winning goals and collected 314 penalty minutes. His 55 power play goals and 119 goals in a Wild sweater rank second all-time in franchise history; he also ranks fourth in points (321), assists (202) and game-winning goals (16) and is fifth in games played.
Brunette is perhaps best known among the residents of the State of Hockey as the man who scored the game-winning goal in sudden death overtime against Roy and the Colorado Avalanche in Game 7 of the first round of the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He had a thing for scoring memorable goals, as he scored the first-ever goal in Nashville Predators history back in 1998-99. Drafted by the Washington Capitals in the 7th round (174th overall) of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, Brunette spent his career playing with the Capitals, Predators, Atlanta Thrashers, Wild and Avalanche, including two stints in Minnesota, before finally wrapping up his playing career with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Brunette will drop the puck in a special ceremonial face-off before tomorrow night’s game against the Avalanche. Welcome home, Bruno; welcome home.