Former Dallas Stars forward Fabian Brunnstrom has signed a professional tryout contract with the Detroit Red Wings, according to the Detroit News and MLIve.com.
Brunnstrom, once a highly sought-after free agent from Sweden, signed with the Dallas Stars in 2008 after several teams courted the young forward – including the Red Wings. He debuted in 2008 with the Stars and registered a hat trick in his first NHL game. Brunnstrom finished the season with 17 goals and 12 assists in 55 games.
However, Brunnstrom’s stock fell considerably the next season when he managed only two goals and nine assists in 44 games with the Stars, which ultimately prompted the team to place Brunnstrom on waivers and assign him to their AHL affiliate. Brunnstrom was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He was assigned to the team’s minor league affiliate and never cracked the Leaf’s roster.
“Things just haven’t gone the way he wanted to. He actually approached us and said he’d like another opportunity,” said Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill. “He knows now what it takes to be a pro after it probably caught him a little off guard being a younger guy from Sweden.”
“I think he just said, ‘You know what, if I’m going to have a chance to be a pro maybe I can do it in Detroit.’ We said, ‘You’re welcome to come and try out,’ and he accepted.”
Detroit already has 13 forwards under contract for next season and Cory Emmerton is out of minor league options, meaning he will be exposed to waivers if the team tries to send him back to the AHL. Brunnstrom will need to beat out Emmerton, at the very least, in order to stay with the club.
“It’s about competition, and if he comes in and plays better than someone else, we’ll find a place (for him),” said Nill. “Things probably haven’t gone as he would have liked, but this is an opportunity.”
Nill said that there have been no discussions yet about Brunnstrom possibly playing with Detroit’s minor league affiliate in Grand Rapids if he doesn’t make the roster.
“I really haven’t talked to him about that,” Nill said. “His focus is to come here and make the Red Wings and we’ll go from there.”