Sunday, May 11, 2008

Brunnstrom: the Next Alfredsson?

With the Dallas Stars scooping up Fabian Brunnstrom, what exactly are they getting for their entry-level money? He's 23, 6' 1", 203 lbs and coming off a season where he got a grand total of 37 pts in 54 GP for Farjestads in the top Swedish Elite League.

The best comparison is probably Daniel Alfredsson who came over to the NHL in a similar fashion arriving as a 23-year-old. Alfredsson prior to joining the Ottawa Senators had just 18 pts in 22 GP in Sweden with Vastra Frolunda. In 82 Swedish Elite League games over three seasons, Alfie had 28G and 54 pts. In 82 GP that first season with Ottawa, the Swedish winger got 26G and 61 pts.

Brunnstrom is a late bloomer and this past season was his only one in the Swedish top division. In 06/07, he was playing in the Second Division (think AHL to the NHL) and lit it up with 37G 73 pts and a monster +51 in 41 GP.

Extrapolate at will then, but best guess is the Stars are getting a less polished Alfredsson. They just have to hope he's no Jiri Dopita (remember him?). The much hyped Dopita was the "best player not in the NHL" for a few years and his rights were actually traded twice before he even joined the NHL moving from Boston to Florida to Philadelphia. The Flyers finally got him to come over as a 31-year-old after over a decade playing mainly in his home nation of the Czech Republic. He managed all of 11 G 27 pts in 52 GP with the Philadelphia Flyers. Hooked up with Edmonton the folllowing season and lasted 21 GP before heading back to Europe.

So, as the Dave Nonis Experience heads cross-country in his job search, the Canucks will probably be hoping Brunnstrom turns out to be more Dopita and less Alfredsson in the coming season.

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