|Brunnstrom, 25, an undrafted free agent from Sweden, made a splash in his NHL debut on October 15, 2008 by recording a hat trick in a 6-4 win over Nashville. (Tim Sharp/QMI AGENCY)
PHOENIX — Dave Nonis finally landed Fabian Brunnstrom, but a lot has changed for himself and the young Swedish forward the past three years.
As general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, Nonis had Brunnstrom in his sights in the spring of 2008 when many NHL teams became enamoured with his 37 points in 54 games with Farjestads BK. A free agent, Brunnstrom was wooed by Detroit, Toronto and Vancouver, which almost had his name on the dotted line.
But when Nonis was let go, the Brunnstrom talks abruptly ended and he joined up with the Dallas Stars.
Fading after a promising start with the Stars (he had a hat trick in his first NHL game), Brunnstrom cleared waivers at the start of this season and has been with the AHL Texas Stars since.
Nonis, meanwhile, re-surfaced with the Leafs as GM Brian Burke’s vice-president and has obviously kept tabs on Brunnstrom. The Leafs acquired him late Thursday for prospect Mikhail Stefanovich, who couldn’t crack the Marlies and was loaned to Minsk of the KHL after a dispute with Marlies coach Dallas Eakins.
The Leafs had the cap space to eat Brunnstrom’s $675,000 US one-way deal and if they can light a fire under the winger, they will do well by the deal. The 6-foot-2, 212-pound Brunnstrom will hook up with the Marlies this weekend.
“He had a very good start to his NHL career and for whatever reason, it didn’t continue,” Nonis said. “He has skill and that’s something you can’t teach. He’s played fairly well of late (two goals and an assist in his last game for Texas on Wednesday).
“He’ll help the Marlies, but he’ll not be given a job here, he will have to earn it with the Marlies. Just like Joey Crabb, James Reimer and Darryl Boyce have done. I had a good talk with his agent and he’s ready to work and we think Dallas (Eakins) can really help him.”
Nonis and Burke also had to do something to help the skeletal Marlies’ roster, racked by injuries and callups as they continue a brutal road trip that’s currently in Abbotsford, B.C.
Nazem Kadri and Christian Hanson were day to day at last report, while Ryan Hamilton, Greg Scott, Justin Hodgman, Jeff Finger, Luca Caputi and Alex Foster are all out indefinitely.