Ilya Kovalchuk's "retirement" from the New Jersery Devils was big in a lot of ways, one of which was to tangibly weaken the Devils on the ice for the upcoming season. It's tough to fill his skates on the top line, even tougher a week after free agency opened in the NHL.

GM Lou Lamoriello has to do something to try and fill the void and though the options aren't plentiful, there are still options such as Damien Brunner . The Swiss forward who made his NHL debut with the Red Wings this past season, remains unsigned and could be the Devils' top target to play on the wing.

Over the weekend, Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record passed along a report from Switzerland saying the Devils are hot on Brunner's tail, leading one to believe a deal was just a matter of time away.

However things might not be that close at all.