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Wings to add another Swede? (Fabian Brunnstrom)

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Comments from Brunnstrom's agent in Ian McIntyre's column in this morning's Vancouver Sun. By the way, both this McIntyre column and yesterday's front page story are puff pieces in Nonis' favor. Full story linked, condensed excerpts below:

Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun

Published: Tuesday, April 15, 2008

VANCOUVER - Today, Fabian Brunnstrom, tomorrow the world. The possibilities for losing suddenly seem endless for the Vancouver Canucks.

The first casualty of the Dave Nonis beheading - make that the second casualty - is the talented Swedish free agent Brunnstrom, whose agent confirmed Tuesday that the 23-year-old will be taking his National Hockey League-ready skills and entry-level salary somewhere else.

"Vancouver is his first choice," J.P. Barry told The Vancouver Sun from Calgary. "But with a change in general manager, there's a potential change in direction. When you've been in discussion with 20 teams, and there are no guarantees, you have to rely on your relationship with the GM to assess the opportunity. In this case, we don't know who's going to be changing that opportunity.

"So we'll have to take a step back and re-evaluate. We were driving towards Vancouver, but now we'll have to look at all the other teams with interest in him and talk to them."

Translation: Brunnstrom will be probably be wearing a Detroit Red Wing or Toronto Maple Leaf uniform for the next two years - and possibly many more after that.

Barry said he would speak with Vancouver assistant GM Steve Tambellini, who qualified to be the interim head of Canuck hockey operations because he has not yet been fired by owner Francesco Aquilini, before signing elsewhere.

But the agent, who has a half-dozen Canuck clients, admitted uncertainty within the organization probably won't end anytime soon and Brunnstrom can't wait all summer to choose a team.

He is considered one of the best prospects outside the NHL. If he were eligible for the draft, he'd be a top-10 pick this June in an extremely strong draft crop. He is a classic late-bloomer who dominated lower divisions before making the Swedish Elite League this season for Farjestads, for which the speedy, playmaking winger amassed 37 points in 54 games despite limited power-play time.

He may well be another Jiri Dopita, the Czech regarded as the best player in the world outside the NHL until he became the worst one in it after signing a lucrative free-agent contract with the Philadelphia Flyers at the start of the decade. But if this is the case with Brunnstrom, he has two-thirds of NHL teams fooled. And Dopita was 32 when he came to the NHL, not 23.

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sorry state of affairs when your interem gm is refered to as the only guy who still has yet to be fired...

now if i were kenny, i'd pick up the phone and give him another ring...

i'd first be talking up the stability of the situation in motown...a contender before the cap...a contender after the cap...and a contender for the future...

and if young fabian is still all about the ice time...

i'd tell him that if he thinks he can beat samuelson for the spot he thinks he deserves...then you go ahead and take it from him...nothing is "gauraunteeed", but if you are the better player when camp breaks you have my word that you will get what you have earned...

then i'd look him in the eye, shake his hand, and say if he can get a better deal from a better run organization, then good luck...

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Since the money's the same wherever he goes this kid should wisen up and come out here to LA. Why not enjoy the weather and other assorted scenery that a 23 year might find enjoyable in the city of Angels. Ice time isn't a problem as he can play on the first line with Anze Kopitar and that other guy. The best part is that he can get the entire summer off to spend back in Sweden and not be bothered by the 2 month grind of the playoffs.

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Ice time isn't a problem as he can play on the first line with Anze Kopitar and that other guy.

Alexander Frolov

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Seriously, if Fabian is even partially as good as some of the videos I've seen, it'd be really hard to believe he couldn't make the team. Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Holmer, Franzen, Cleary, Draper, Maltby, Filps, Kopecky & Hudler are prolly the only forwards that really are locks. Sammy could be in there too, but I still think he's a toss up. I'd take Fabian over Downey, McCarty, Hartigan or Drake on my team without a doubt. Sure we'd lose a gritty style guy in doing so, but McCarty & Drake might not even be back next year anyways. Plus for the future, having talent like Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Filps, Kopecky & Hudler around would be kind of hard to turn away from......

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Bruunstrom is apparently opening up his search beyond Toronto and Detroit. Probably a smart move, since his sole criteria in narrowing down his initial list had to do with how many Swedish players a team has.

Really that's what you're concerned about? Not the coach, how they develop players, the overall talent, the city you'll be living in?

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Bruunstrom is apparently opening up his search beyond Toronto and Detroit. Probably a smart move, since his sole criteria in narrowing down his initial list had to do with how many Swedish players a team has.

Really that's what you're concerned about? Not the coach, how they develop players, the overall talent, the city you'll be living in?

I mean I'm sure the guy would at least feel a little more comfortable with some Swedish players around him. Either way, we have a great history of performing well year in and year out, we've got a good coach, a good front office, good young players along with veterans, and we've got a lot of Swedish players. That being said, I don't see why Fabian would pick anywhere else besides here to sign.....

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Really that's what you're concerned about? Not the coach, how they develop players, the overall talent, the city you'll be living in?

Absolutely. Moving to another country is difficult enough. If money is the same and you will spend much of the year traveling, then having coworkers who speak your native language would be a huge positive.

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Vancouver seems to be back in the game with its quick signing of new GM Mike Gilis. Agent J.P. Barry said yesterday that if Gillis is interested, the Canucks need to jump back in right away.

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http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=236267&lid=sublink05&lpos=headlines_main

Sources tell TSN Swedish prospect Fabian Brunnstrom is in Dallas and attended Game 3 of the Stars - San Jose Sharks Conference Semifinals with the Stars showing great interest in signing him.

Brunnstrom is on a mini-North American tour, checking out the cities he is considering as potential sites to begin his NHL career. He is expected to be in Denver on Thursday for Game 4 between the Avalanche and Red Wings.

The 23-year forward is also expected to visit Montreal, and Detroit, teams he has identified as "depth" teams, clubs who have great interest in bringing him on board, but may not be able to offer the same immediate playing opportunity as Toronto and a number of the other franchises still in the mix.

Brunnstrom is expected to make his decision once all options have been considered.

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Dang Shinma, beat me to it.

Highly touted Swedish prospect Fabian Brunnstrom is scheduled to attend tonight's game at the Pepsi Center to visit with Red Wings management. The free-agent forward is considering offers from several teams, including Detroit. He was in Dallas on Tuesday and will reportedly visit Montreal as well.

http://www.mlive.com/redwings/index.ssf/2008/05/babcock_i_have_one_of_the_best.html

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I thought this was funny!

Thumbs down to the Fabian Brunnstrom celebrity tour. Whether or not he is worth the free agent contract he's going to get, I'm going to say his presence in Dallas doesn't warrant the buzz it received. I wondered if they were going to stop Tuesday night's game to look for him. Roger Clemens and Mindy McCready, arm in arm, would have been ignored if someone claimed to be Fabian Brunnstrom. My take on his ability to make it big in the NHL goes like this: if he was that good, Detroit would have drafted him. The Red Wings find Swedish prospects that haven't learned to skate yet. If they missed this one, how good can he be? Of course, they are trying to sign him now.

http://www.tsn.ca/columnists/dave_hodge/?id=236407

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Dave Hodge is awesome! Always opinionated, but usually makes his points in a wry, understated, clever way. Cheeky and dignified, if you can be both, especially at the age of 63. He hosted Hockey Night in Canada for the 15 years before Ron McLean. The Wikipedia entry on Hodge describes how that gig came to an abrupt end:

On March 14, 1987, he was hosting a game between the Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs, which ended early. CBC then switched the full network over to a regional game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens for the end of the third period. It ended in a tie just before 11:00 PM Eastern Time, meaning it would require overtime. CBC executives decided that only viewers in Quebec, who had seen the game from the start, would get to continue watching after 11:00, while the rest of the network would cut away. "That's the CBC for you," Hodge said in disgust, flipping his pencil in the air as he signed off the telecast. Hodge was fired two days later and replaced by western correspondent Ron MacLean.

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You guys saw this, right?

Link: http://www.mlive.com/redwings/index.ssf/2008/05/forsberg_smyth_out_for_game_4.html

Super prospect Brunnstrom to meet with Wings; Grigorenko no longer in organization's plans

by Ansar Khan

Thursday May 01, 2008, 1:28 PM

Highly touted Swedish prospect Fabian Brunnstrom is scheduled to arrive in Denver this afternoon and meet with Wings management. He'll fly to Detroit Friday and get a tour of the facilities. Brunnstrom spent the last two days in Dallas and will conclude his three-stop North American tour in Montreal.

Wings coach Mike Babcock said Brunnstrom signing with Detroit should be a no-brainer, considering how many Swedes the team has.

"It's so obvious it isn't even funny, just move into Novi, Little Sweden, and hang out, it's like the old country,'' Babcock said. "I can't even understand how anybody else is in the running. Makes no sense to me whatsoever. All they (Swedish players) do is they come here, they're comfortable, they play better than they ever have in their life

Meanwhile, Wings general manager Ken Holland said today that prospect Igor Grigorenko, who failed in his first attempt to make the team this season, likely does not fit into the organization's plans anymore.

An out-of-shape Grigorenko returned to Russia in October after declining an assignment to Grand Rapids. Holland said he's not likely to make the restricted free-agent forward a qualifying offer in the off-season, thereby losing his NHL rights.

"I don't think he had a great year over there (Russia),'' Holland said. "I don't think there's been that commitment to conditioning that we needed to see to give me hope that he can be an NHL player. Unless somebody tells me some new news in the next two months, my take is it's time to move on.''

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Hey Fabian...

You just saw three of your countrymen completely destroy the Avs in game 4, and advance to the Western Conference Final for the 2nd time in two years. Howz about we drop this little charade now, hmm?

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Brunnstrom: 'I'm not Sidney Crosby'

by Ansar Khan Thursday May 01, 2008, 9:32 PM

Super Swedish prospect Fabian Brunnstrom arrived in Denver Thursday to meet with Red Wings management and take in Game 4. He's in the process of deciding which NHL team to sign with. It sounds like the process is weighing on him.

"This has been so big, almost like I'm like the next Sidney Crosby and I'm not the next Sidney Crosby,'' Brunnstrom said. "I just want to sign and get it over with.''

But, he said of the enormous amount of attention he's received this season: "It's fun, too. It has grown so big, but it's fun, too.''

He said he likes the Wings' puck-possession style of play.

"Of course I'm looking at open spots and I know Red Wings are a really good team. It's going to be tough.They seem to give the guys an opportunity to be successful.''

He said he's not looking for a guarantee to play on a top line. Vancouver had promised him a spot on the line with the Sedin twins. He was about to sign with the Canucks before they fired general manager Dave Nonis a couple of weeks ago.

"I don't think the teams can give me that guarantee. I'm just looking for opportunity to play,'' Brunnstrom said.

He met with several of the Wings' Swedish players, including defenseman Andreas Lilja, who's from his hometown.

"He's a role model,'' Brunnstrom said. "He's been to hockey camps, so I met him when I was younger.''

http://www.mlive.com/redwings/index.ssf/2008/05/brunnstrom_im_not_sidney_crosb.html

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This quote from Holland is a classic!

The Wings pride themselves in their organizational aptitude, preparing for every circumstance. But it’s even beyond their managerial skill arranging for Brunnstrom to witness firsthand what was basically a Swedish national team exhibition Thursday.

Isn’t it?

“Oh yeah, we planned it that way just for him,” winked general manager Ken Holland.

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080502/SPORTS05/80502005/1048/SPORTS

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Brunnstrom still days away from a decision

by Ansar Khan Tuesday May 06, 2008, 11:19 AM

After meeting with the Red Wings, Dallas and Montreal last week, Swedish prospect Fabian Brunnstrom will take at least a few days to decide on his future.

"Brunnstrom got back to Sweden yestereday,'' Wings general manager Ken Holland said today. "They're going to give him a few days to kind of get his bearings and then later in the week or early next week they're going to sit down with him and his Swedish agent and they're going to start to go through their process.''

Brunnstrom is said to have narrowed his choices to Detroit, Dallas and Montreal, despite reports that Toronto and other teams are still in the mix.

http://www.mlive.com/redwings/index.ssf/2008/05/brunnstrom_still_days_away_fro.html

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Brunnstrom tells Wings he is not coming to Detroit

May 8, 2008

General manager Ken Holland has been informed by unrestricted free agent Fabian Brunnstrom that he has not selected the Wings.

The Wings wooed Brunnstrom last week as he toured also Dallas and Montreal, his three finalists.

“I got a letter from Brunnstrom,” Holland just told me. “He said it was a hard decision to make, he just ultimately made a decision to go in another direction. I don’t really know anything more.”

Brunnstrom opted, in the end, to go with Dallas. Every team could offer him the same financial incentive: An $850,000 contract, plus $850,000 in bonuses. The biggest issue appeared to be playing time. While no team can make promises regarding ice time, obviously things can be said without being put onto paper. The Wings had told Brunnstrom he would be with them at least for the month of October (in other words, the first month of the regular season), but beyond that, he would have had to earn his playing minutes.

Brunnstrom was in Denver last Thursday to watch the Wings demolish Colorado, 8-2, and then flew Friday to Detroit, where he was shown Joe Louis Arena and taken out to dinner by Holland and assistant general manager Jim Nill.

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080508/BLOG09/80508071/1048/sports

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