As the puck drops in round three of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it appears that the Dallas Stars have already beaten Detroit in another competition.
According to TSN, prospect Fabian Brunnstrom has chosen to play with the Dallas Stars for the 2008-2009 campaign. In addition to the Red Wings, Dallas beat out Toronto and Montreal after a list was narrowed from the other 25 teams in the NHL.
Every notable hockey forum had at least one thread dedicated to "Fabian Fanfare" or "Brunnstrommania," so I think it’s only fair that Bleacher Report has at least one article signifying the end of the madness.
Earlier this season, rumours indicated that the Canucks were at the top of the list for this Swede. Perhaps the firing of GM Dave Nonis had something to do with Brunnstrom signing elsewhere. Nonis was instrumental in pursuing the Swedish Elite League forward with help from the contingent of Swedes in Vancouver.
His firing brought the Maple Leafs back into contention for Brunnstrom, who was expected to be part of the rebuilding process for the team. The Red Wings have many Swedish players, so it only made sense for Brunnstrom to join his countrymen.
By winning the "Swedestakes," the Dallas Stars have either gained a potential first-line winger or another over-hyped European prospect. It really can’t hurt to sign a player of Brunnstrom’s supposed calibre and let the chips fall where they may.
I think there are definite reasons why Brunnstrom picked Dallas over the other three competing teams.
With all the hype surrounding Brunnstrom, I could only imagine the parade of pre-season interviews in Toronto, Montreal and Detroit. While Dallas has great fans, they have plenty of other sports franchises to keep them occupied.
Despite the presence of the Pistons, Lions, and Tigers, Detroit considers itself to be Hockeytown, USA. I’ve never been to a Red Wings game, but if they have the guts to throw Octopus on the ice, I’d rather not question their fanaticism.
Montreal had the Expos and the Nordiques to keep the rest of the province occupied, but those days are long gone and there is no questioning the sanctity of their beloved Habs.
The Leafs could have offered Fabian the minutes he desired, but I definitely think a combination of Toronto's hockey mentality and the lack of stable management killed this deal.
The Leafs even sent Borje Salming to try and persuade his fellow countryman to join up with the Blue and White. If one of the most famous Swedish hockey players couldn’t get the deal done, it seems very likely that the Leafs didn’t have a great shot to begin with.
I could keep ranting about Leafs management for days, but this article is about Fabian. This Swedish Elite League prospect is supposed to have Alfredsson-like skills and if everything pans out as projected, the Stars could have him on a line with Brad Richards next season.
I doubt he’ll immediately adapt to the NHL game, but with all the hype around this guy, who knows what to believe. He might even end up becoming the next Jiri Dopita, who falls into the long list of European superstars that failed to make the transition.
Hopefully, Fabian’s talent will shine through. But maybe Leafs fans will sleep a bit easier if his tour with Dallas ends up shorter than a Texas two-step.