As the very rarely seen but much talked about Fabian Brunnstrom continues his barnstorming tour of NHL clubs speaking with various representatives before he and agent JP Barry decide which team will suit him best, one has to wonder if the newest Swedish sensation will follow in the well chosen footsteps of his fellow countrymen who have come before him. When Brunnstrom finally chooses a suitor and skates onto NHL ice, he will do so, in large part due to enormous media speculation, under stunningly high expectations. Anything short of failing to take the league by storm and he will be labeled a failure and a disappointment even if he proves to be a good player but not a great player.
With this possibility in mind, why not chose an organization that has almost become Team Sweden’s North American annex. The Detroit Red Wings have had tremendous success finding numerous Swedish players passed over by most every other team and developing them into not just serviceable NHLers but front line talent. Kind of sounds a bit like Brunnstrom’s situation doesn’t it. Six of Detroit’s top nine playoff scorers hold Swedish passports and just one of those six, Niklas Kronwall, was selected higher than the third round of the entry draft.
In an organization unable to foster and nurture his talent, it will be easy for Brunnstrom to go the way of the dodo bird if he doesn’t, oh I don’t know, win the Hart Trophy next year. Ridiculous expectations you say? Hey I’m just judging from speculation we’ve heard. If you’ve seen him play, tell me different. In Detroit though, surrounded by fellow Swedes in an organization that constantly develops winners, Brunnstrom would have the best chance at success even if he only turns out to be as good as, let’s say Johan Franzen. And hey right now, playing like Franzen isn’t a bad thing at all. If Detroit shows interest, Fabian should listen. But hey, all that was just rigamarole.