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