Fresh Faces: Fabian Brunnstrom
This edition of Fresh Faces will focus on Fabian Brunnstrom, a 26-year-old Swede (yes, another one) who signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Red Wings on October 3rd. The Wings signed Brunnstrom to a pro tryout contract in mid-August, giving him an opportunity to prove his worth. The determination and impressive skill set he demonstrated during the preseason earned him a well-deserved spot on the Wings’ roster.
Brunnstrom began playing professionally in 2005 with Jonstorps IF in Sweden’s third-highest level hockey league. He scored 44 points in the 38 games he played in during the 2005-2006 season. The following season (2006-07), Brunnstrom played for Boras HC and helped promote the team to the second-tier Swedish league, Allsvenskan. That season Brunnstrom lead the league with an astonishing 73 points in just 41 games. In 2007-08, Brunnstrom played in Sweden’s first-tier league, Elitserien, with Farjestads BK.
Although his elite performance in Sweden attracted interest from the NHL, he went undrafted in 2008 and became an unrestricted free agent. In May 2008, Fabian Brunnstrom signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Dallas Stars. After being a healthy scratch for his first two games as a Star, Brunnstrom became the third player in history to score a hat trick during his first game in the NHL.
In October 2010, Brunnstrom was placed on waivers. He was assigned to the Texas Stars, the Dallas Stars’ AHL affiliate team, after he cleared waivers a few days later. In January 2011, Brunnstrom was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs and played for their AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.
Many believe that Brunnstrom is a so-called “late bloomer” and that his performance level may actually be higher now in his return to the NHL, having two years of experience in the AHL. After scoring two goals in the exhibition game against Chicago, Brunnstrom has led us to believe that this may in fact be true. I trust Ken Holland with all of my being and agree that between his size and goal scoring ability, signing Fabian Brunnstrom will be quite advantageous for the Wings.