Detroit Red Wings: 5 Reasons Fabian Brunnstrom's Deal Is an Absolute Steal

Matt HutterAnalyst IOctober 3, 2011

Detroit Red Wings: 5 Reasons Fabian Brunnstrom's Deal Is an Absolute Steal

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    As was predicted last week, the Detroit Red Wings have signed forward Fabian Brunnstrom to a contract.

    As it was reported by the Detroit Free Press, the two-way contract is for a one-year term and carries with it a $600,000 salary in the NHL.

    Since the beginning of training camp, Brunnstrom has exhibited his ability, and more importantly, his desire to relaunch his NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings.

    Brunnstrom's performance in the exhibition season was impressive and more than deserving of a professional contract.

    But, what now seems a tad more impressive is the terms under which he'll play.

    For most fans, getting Brunnstrom signed, to any contract, is a win for the organization.  But, considering the details of how he's being brought in, there's no way this deal can go bad.

    Here's five reasons why.

Ken Holland Was Always in the Driver's Seat

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    You see that smile?

    That's the look of a kid who just got away with something he knows damn well he never should have.

    Were it any other team Brunnstrom was trying out for, his performance in the preseason may very well have garnered him a longer term, with even higher pay.

    But, he chose to get a job at a place that doesn't overpay, even for their superstars, so any offer he was going to get was going to be the first and final one he'd see.

    Holland knew he wasn't going to have to negotiate with Brunnstrom on a deal, which means he was able to structure one that was completely to his benefit.

    How often does a general manager in the NHL have that luxury?

Brunnstrom Does Not Want to Go Back to the AHL, but He Knows He Might

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    Brunnstrom made it clear from the beginning that he'd be willing to play for Grand Rapids in the event Detroit didn't signed him, but his true goal was sticking with the big club.

    The two-way nature of this deal certainly leaves the door open for him to play in the minors, but, he's currently slated to debut with the Wings at their season opener this Friday.

    Starting his year with the big club means that anything but a continued stay in the NHL will be a disappointment of some measure for the Swedish winger.

    The specter of a waiver-exempt demotion to the minors should go a long way towards motivating Brunnstrom to continue his high level of effort game in and game out.

Brunnstrom Helps the Red Wings Rebuild Without Any Risk

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    Brunnstrom might have been on his way to a contract prior to Jan Mursak's ankle being bent up a million ways of nasty, but his starting the season with the Wings is likely a direct result of that injury.

    Mursak was slated to be the Wings' top homegrown addition this season, as he played his way into a contract extension last season that would ostensibly have him enter life as a full-time NHL player.

    However, Mursak was on a one-way deal that carried some risk with it.

    Had he started this season and underperformed, the Wings would be forced to sit him in favor of more deserving players (a la the 2010-11 Jiri Hudler program), or, attempt to demote him to the minors.

    The latter option would carry with it the risk of losing him via waiver-acquisition, something the Red Wings would want to avoid if at all possible, even if Mursak was under-performing.

    Now that Brunnstrom has effectively taken Mursak's spot, the Wings have another young and promising forward with which to rebuild, but with no risk of losing him should they choose to demote him.

    Indeed, when Mursak is ready to return, Brunnstrom may be sent to the Grand Rapids to continue playing, while Mursak gets an extended stay in Detroit.

    At worst, the Wings could have a player that starts the year a depth player and later becomes a first-option call up when Mursak's return pushes him down the depth chart.

He Could Be a Tough Guy to Lose, but an Easy Guy to Part With...I'll Explain

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    Let's say that it's late February, 2012, and Fabian Brunnstrom is firmly on his way to a 20-goal, 50-point campaign.

    He looks every bit as good as advertised and is fitting in famously with the Wings.

    However, Brad Stuart is out of commission, Ian White isn't performing as expected and the Wings really  need some defensive help for a playoff push.

    At the same time, the Nashville Predators have decided they won't be able to secure Shea Weber to a contract and need offense more than defense to a secure a playoff berth.

    Despite his great performance for the Wings thus far, Brunnstrom looks like a very attractive piece of a blockbuster trade puzzle.

    Essentially, Brunnstrom's would-be success will clearly benefit his team, but, that success coupled with a very cheap, one-year deal could make him a "must have" piece of any trade scenario.

    This is all very far fetched, I'll admit, but if the Wings do have to package Brunnstrom in a trade, the fact that he's cost them so little and could yield them so much remains a huge plus.

You Thought This Contract Was a Steal? Wait Until You See the Next One!

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    Let's go back to the first part of that last slide.

    The year ends and Brunnstrom has chipped in 22 goals, added 31 assists and secured himself as a solid piece of the Red Wings' puzzle moving forward.

    How much will it take to retain him?

    Well, considering he's playing for (relative) peanuts with only one foot in the NHL to begin with, there's no where for him to go but up.

    When he came into the league with Dallas in 2008-09, his contract took $2.25 million away from Dallas' cap space.

    Even considering Brunnstrom turns in a 50-plus point season, given the lowly level at which negotiations would start on a new contract, my guess is the resulting hit would be below what Dallas took to get him into the league.

    Even a three-year, $6 million deal would be a gigantic increase for Brunnstrom, but a manageable one for the Red Wings.

    For all these reasons, Fabian Brunnstrom could prove a first-class acquisition for the Wings this season and beyond.

     

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