Saturday, May 10, 2008

Brunnstrom does Dallas

For the soft-spoken Brunnstrom, the choice between his suitors (mainly the Stars, Red Wings and Canadiens) was a difficult one.

"All the others were good, but Dallas felt a little bit better for me," he said. "I enjoyed the team, and I liked the people there."
I'm a few days behind the news cycle with this one, the news that Fabian Brunnstrom has chosen Dallas, but I'd been waiting for a few words from the man himself on how he made the choice.

I'm not sure that we're going to get that particular insight, at least not yet. But I have an idea why he'd choose Dallas over Detroit, Montreal and Toronto, and it doesn't have anything to do with the people.

The Red Wings have, by far the most Swedish content with seven players, as the Stars and Leafs have five and three on the roster this season and the Habs don't have a Swede at all. That's not the deciding factor.

It's also not money, as Brunnstrom was essentially guaranteed to get the same sort of contract wherever he went, a max deal under the rookie entry-level cap with $1-million-plus in bonuses.

And if he wanted ice time, a team in transition, like Toronto or Vancouver, would really be the way to go. (Although the Stars will have a few holes up front with a few free agents on the way out.)

No, the bottom line for Brunnstrom, a "soft-spoken" 23-year-old not particularly used to (or, some would say, suited for) the spotlight, is that Dallas keeps him about as far from the glitz as possible. Texas has its hockey fans, to be sure, but the media contingent is much, much smaller than in Detroit, and it can't even compare to the downright nutty atmosphere in Toronto or Montreal.

It really does take a special player to excel under those conditions — and that's not a slight against Brunnstrom. He could very well develop into a good NHLer, but it's going to take time, and given his billing — something he's going to be stuck trying to live up to for a while — he's likely to disappoint in the early going.

It's easier to pull that off in Dallas.

And if, by chance, you're set to become the next Patrik Stefan, pick the smallest stage possible.

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At 12:48 p.m., May 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Dallas has five Swedes currently on the roster, rather than three.

Grossman, Eriksson, Lundqvist, Norstrom and Holmqvist

At 12:51 p.m., May 10, 2008, Blogger Black Dog said...

Cherry said it best last night - 9 goals in the SEL and never played for the national team once at age 23.

Kid has a hell of an agent.

At 12:58 p.m., May 10, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

The thing that troubles me more than that is that he really folded down the stretch in Sweden. Reports were that he couldn't handle the pressure.

Of the SEL.

At 2:32 p.m., May 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He didn't have any pressure in FBK because that team is full of veterans like Jorgen Jonsson. Swedish media started to notice him only after NHL teams went nuts.

Even after that he wasn't in the spotlight because third line forwards rarely are.

Sedin twins dominated SEL when they were 18-19 yrs old. Nicklas Backstrom was SEL's leading scorer before he missed some games due to WJC.

Brunstrom is 23 and according to some scouts he has to get in shape. He might do just fine even in his rookie season but most likely he'll be a disappointment.

I think his agent did both great and bad job. Yes, his client got rookie cap, well done, but now his client will face unneeded pressure.

Most of these players end up in the AHL where they get more seasoning. It could be even best for him to play 30-40 games in the minors but now even Dallas has to think differently.

They'll keep him with big team even if he struggles and that's not good hockey wise.

At 3:24 p.m., May 10, 2008, Anonymous Ryan said...

What confuses me is that Dallas' salary cap situation for next year isn't looking all that great. They'll have Richards' big contract on the books for a full season, Ribeiro's big extension, a pay raise for Zubov, and now the contract for Brunnstrom. It looks like they have 45m committed to 2 goalies, 6 defencemen, and 9 forwards (including Brunnstrom), with decisions to be made about Norstrom (who earned 4.25m last year), Daley, Eriksson, Hagman, Barnes, and Miettinen (who all earned between 0.6, and 0.9m, some of whom are in line for raises).

Essentially, it seems like they're counting on the cap going up, Norstrom taking a pay cut, and being able to resign their young forwards for maybe a little less than they deserve. Why sign Brunnstrom if it means you risk not being able to resign Hagman or Eriksson?

At 3:44 p.m., May 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Brunnstrom really chose Dallas because he didn't want to play under pressure, then why was it a pretty much done deal that he was gonna sign in Vancouver before Nonis was fired?

At 3:48 p.m., May 10, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

An ice-time guarantee.

I think after Brunnstrom came and toured a few NHL cities, he realized what he was really in for.

At 5:10 p.m., May 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ryan, signing Brunnstrom sends Miettinen away, which most Stars fans are happy for. Hagman wasn't going to be signed anyways unless he wants a reasonable contract which would be less than he can get on the open market. Norstrom won't be back unless he takes at least a 50 percent cut, but that won't matter since even without him the Stars still have seven NHL d-men. Barnes is contemplating retirement, but if he doesn't, he'll sign on for a bit less than $1 million based on what he's said this year and last. Both Daley and Eriksson are RFAs, and both won't be breaking the bank either. It also wouldn't surprise me if Daley is shopped. Holmqvist likely won't be back either, meaning the Stars either promote Stephan or look for a veteran backup.

The Stars are fine with the cap. Lest we all forget too, there is no assurance Brunnstrom will play in the NHL next year. He knows that, Hull/Jackson know that and if he is in the AHL his salary won't count against the cap. If he is in the NHL, he's not taking time away from other forward prospects (namely Neal, Crombeen and Pushkarev) because there are spots on the roster open.

At 6:17 p.m., May 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad Montreal didn't sign him.
They'll need the extra cash to sign Andrei Kostitsyn to keep the Russians away from him

At 1:58 p.m., May 11, 2008, Blogger Jimmy Jazz said...

I'm very interested to see where this one goes. Nick Backstrom always had to talent to come out of the SEL and into the NHL, but this kid has all the markings of a flash in the pan.


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