Who is Fabian Brunnström? With a name like that, I wondered if maybe he won the latest edition of Swedish Idol. In fact, he’s an undrafted forward (listed as a left-winger here) in the Swedish Elite League, and allegedly one of the best hockey players outside the NHL.
Yesterday, the CBC reported that the Canucks were close to signing Brunnström. From Scott Morrison’s blog:
No fewer than 20 NHL teams expressed interest in the 23-year-old Swedish winger, who went undrafted and played the past season in the Swedish Elite League with Farjestad.
As reported on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday, Brunnstrom had a short list of five or six and further reduced that to one: the Canucks, whose general manager, Dave Nonis, did a good job of selling the youngster on the team and the city.
On the broadcast, Morrison calls Brunnström “the hottest player not in the NHL right now” and “speedy”. Here’s an earlier article from The Hockey News:
Brunnstrom, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound forward, is a classic late bloomer. Last season he was playing First Division in Sweden, which is two steps under the Elite League and was a star at that level, which prompted Farjestad to sign him this season. He skates very well and his three goals and 13 points in 21 games are probably not a clear indication of how good he is offensively.
Why wouldn’t he come to Vancouver? Canada is considerably more similar to Sweden than the US, it’s got the most favourable climate in the country and the Canucks are chock full of Swedes. I assume that the team has some kind of Swedish quota, and the Canucks are signing Brunnström anticipating Naslund’s forthcoming departure. Darren Dreger speculates that he might sign at $2 million per season.
If the Canucks do sign him, Brunnström will undoubtedly get a long audition with the Sedin twins. They’ve been missing an effective triplet since Anson Carter was stricken with delusions of grandeur. Who knows? Maybe he’ll fit in where everybody else on the roster hasn’t. I’ll also be pleased to see the team get younger.
Here’s a little video compilation of in action:
He’s wearing a #96 jersey. If he does play for the Canucks, he’ll have to decide whether he wants the monkey that comes free with that number on his back. When a team has a bad year, there’s often extra pressure on signings like this. Hopefully he can shoulder it.
Thanks to James Mirtle for the tip.