TORONTO– In 2008, the anticipation surrounding LW Fabian Brunnstrom had the Detroit Red Wings, Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs preying like wolves for the chance to sign the 23 year old from Jonstorp, Sweden. But, on May 8th of that year, it was GM Brett Hull and the Dallas Stars who snagged Brunnstrom to a two year entry-level contract.
Having great size, speed, and the ability to score goals, Brunnstrom entered the National Hockey League (NHL) in the 2008/09 season and tallied 17 goals. Along with 12 assists, he finished his rookie campaign with 29 points in 55 games. Highlighting his first year with the Stars was the statement he made in his first game when he scored a hat-trick against the Nashville Predators; including the game winning goal.
His sophomore season came with the belief he would improve on his first year statistics, so when he could only muster two goals through 44 games, Brunnstrom found himself demoted to the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League (AHL).
“It was big, big hype and expectations were so high. I don’t know, I guess it was pretty hard to come in and enter the league like that,” said Brunnstrom when asked about the impact of his first game in North America and the lingering effect it had on his time with the Dallas organization.
When Dallas originally signed Brunnstrom, current Leafs Senior Vice-President of Hockey Operations Dave Nonis was leading Vancouver in the fight for his services. So when the opportunity arose that the left-winger would be available through a trade, Nonis didn’t hesitate and made the deal.
The Leafs sent D Mikhail Stefanovich the other way.
When asked about the trade to Toronto being a second chance, Brunnstrom confidently answered,
“Ya absolutely and I’m really glad they did (make the trade). I’m gonna work hard every day to try and make them proud. Now it’s gone three years and here I am, and I’m gonna work from here.”
In his first month with the Marlies, Brunnstrom has played 11 games and potted four goals and three assists. Adding to his stats from his time in Texas, on the season he has 28 points through 48 games; but perhaps most noticeably a plus-10 rating. Playing on the right wing, he has also brought chemistry to his new line-mates C Mike Zigomanis, who has 11 points in his last 11 games, and LW Jeff Cowan who has scored 3 goals.
When discussing his time so far in Toronto, Brunnstrom kept it simple.
“It feels great. Its’ been fun from day one, and the guys and the coaches (have) taken really good care of me.”