When the Dallas Stars landed coveted European free-agent Fabian Brunnstrom in 2008, Stars fans celebrated. After all, Dallas had beat out offers from teams like the Vancouver Canucks, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens to land the services of the undrafted Swede.
And when Brunnstrom made his NHL debut early that season by scoring a hat trick against the Nashville Predators, well, it looked like the Stars had a top talent for years to come on their hands.
Unfortunately for the Stars and Brunnstrom, that was probably the high point of his NHL career. Brunnstrom struggled to adjust to the more-physical NHL game, and he ended up being placed on waivers a little less than two years later.
Neither the Maple Leafs, who traded Mikhail Stefanovich to Dallas to acquire Brunnstrom in Jan. 2011, nor the Red Wings, who signed him as a free agent that summer, had much success with him either, and his NHL tenure officially came to a close Wednesday when he signed a three-year contract with Frolunda of the Swedish Elite League. He hopes it's only a temporary absence.
Brunnstrom, 27, told HockeyExpressen.se that he hopes to return to the NHL.
"The NHL will always be the goal," he said. "I will always strive to be as good as possible as a player."
- Austin Smith will get to play a full season in his home state for the first time since he was a kid, either full time with the Texas Stars or perhaps a few stops in Dallas as well. Stephen over at Hundred Degree Hockey got a chance to catch up with him at the recent development camp and talk about coming home and growing up hockey. [Hundred Degree Hockey]
- The top part of this article is dedicated to the Rick Nash trade to the New York Rangers, but the more interesting part to me was going over some of the better trades the Stars have made since the lockout. Bonus points for bringing up probably the two most important trades this franchise has made all time as well. [The Hockey Writers]
- If you've seen me on Twitter the past few days, you know this "DFW's best athlete" poll being run by the Dallas Morning News is very difficult for me. On one hand, the first finalist is Loui Eriksson, heir to the Jere Lehtinen throne of awesomeness. On the other hand, the SMU football player he's up against (Margus Hunt for those scoring at home) is a physical freak with an awesome personal story, and being an SMU grad as well as a former Mustang football employee, I can't bring myself to pick one over the other. But you, fellow Stars fans, are free to vote for whoever you see fit. [DallasNews.com]
- Brandon's favorite prospect, Matej Stransky, might be another late-round hit for the Stars. But can someone please explain to me how he plans to get his gelled-straight-up hair inside of a hockey helmet? That's.... impressive height. [DallasStars.com]
- What happens when you get passed over in your first NHL draft? If you're Luke Mercer, you go to the Stars development camp and hope to impress them enough during the season to draft you next year. [Welland Tribune]
- Angelo Esposito, one time first-round draft pick and brief member of the Texas Stars, is headed to Finland. [ProHockeyTalk]
- I'll admit this story is on the list for slightly different reasons. Nominally, it's on this list because one of the women who is having a house built for her is a Stars fan. But it's really on here because I lived about an hour from Joplin when last May's tornado hit, and I got to see first-hand the freakishly destructive power of nature by doing some of the cleanup. While most of the debris is gone now, there's still plenty of rebuilding to be done, and I applaud the St. Louis Blues for keeping good on their word to go out there and build houses. [Joplin Globe]
- An added bonus to being the wife of a Stanley Cup Champion I didn't know about - celebratory jewelry. [Backhand Shelf]
- Dean Lombardi tried his best to be convincing when explaining how time stood still long enough for the Kings to defeat the Blue Jackets. But after six months (six months!), the NHL has finally come out and admitted what people knew all along - it was simply human error. [Puck Daddy]
Shea Weber, Rick Nash and all associated parties are the targets in line for Todd this week. I particularly liked the final parting shot at Nash. It brought back memories of Nash jumping out of the way of one Jamie Benn on one of the highlight real goals of the season. [Thursday Morning Cupcheck]
- A few things stand out about this compilation of the best Dallas Stars saves of the season to me. The first is that when Kari Lehtonen is on, he's got an incredible sense of body position and angles. Also, his legs are tremendously quick, and his ability to move while down in a butterfly is outstanding.