Despite the natural worries after losing Ilya Kovalchuk and David Clarkson in the offseason Patrik Elias believes the Devils might be better offensively with their new cast of players.

Especially if they sign Swiss forward Damien Brunner who is in camp on a tryout basis.

“From what I’ve seen and the way he played last year in Detroit you can see he’s got skills” Elias said of Brunner. “He’s got a good shot and he moves to the right places. He reminds me a little bit of Sykie (Petr Sykora) the way he moves on the ice and how confident he is with the puck. He never needs too many chances to score a goal.”

In his first practice with the team Brunner skated today on a line with Elias and Dainius Zubrus. He was also on the power play.

So is it a foregone conclusion that he’ll be signed?

“It’s tough. You look at the guys who are here and there aren’t too many spots open” Elias pointed out. “If you add that type of player you want him to play on the top two lines. You look at our top two lines and what we have I don’t know what Lou (Lamoriello) is thinking. Maybe it’s to make guys compete a little harder for spots. Or maybe he has something more cooking like moving someone thinking ahead. Who knows?

“We have to see something special from (Brunner) obviously because I thought with the guys we have here we had a pretty good team already. You add him there will be guys competing for spots.”

With Michael Ryder Ryane Clowe Jaromir Jagr and Brunner the Devils could be better than they’ve been since Zach Parise left.

“We hope so” Elias said. “But you can add the biggest names you want. You don’t know how it will work with the team. To be Clowe looks real good on the ice. He’s a strong guy and a smart player. You add Brun ner and the other guys and I think these guys can combine for more offense than Kovy and Clarkson the two guys we had.”