Blogs > Red Wings Corner

Up-to-the minute updates and insights from the Red Wings locker room at home and on the road. By Chuck Pleiness of The Macomb Daily.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Brunnstrom visiting Wings today and tomorrow

Swedish free agent Fabian Brunnstrom will be picked up at the Denver airport by Ken Holland this afternoon and will watch the Red Wings/Avalanche game tonight with Detroit management. Brunnstrom will be in Detroit tomorrow where he'll be shown Joe Louis Arena and have dinner with management. (Whether he travels to Detroit on the team plane or commerical airline is still being worked out, depending on what the league will allow.)
Brunnstrom is making three stops on this trip to North America, having visited Dallas already. His third stop hasn't been announced, but my guess is it's Montreal. That means Detroit is one of three finalists for the free agent.
Brunnstrom is a hockey late-bloomer. The 23-year-old played his first season in Sweden's top league and fared well. What makes him attractive is that he has NHL potential and doesn't cost a club anything to sign -- no draft picks, no players in trade, no money.
He doesn't have a sterling resume, but Brunnstrom's been placed in a situation that has drawn international attention. He couldn't negotiate with any NHL teams until the Swedish season was finished, increasing speculation. Then he said that he wants to go to Vancouver. But days later the Canucks fired their general manager and Brunnstrom decided not to go to the Canucks.
Now, he's touring three NHL cities, increasing the attention on Brunnstrom.
Holland said that the Red Wings are offering the CBA maximum in both salary ($850,000 annually) and bonuses ($850,000 annually).
Holland said that the Red Wings' sales pitch is: their development of young talent like Filppula and Franzen; the organization's stability; that the Red Wings play a European style of hockey; and the sustained success of the franchise.
Brunnstrom might take media questions this evening. If he does, I'll update.

POST-PRACTICE UPDATE: Great line from coach Mike Babcock about why Brunnstrom would want to play for the Red Wings ...
"It's so obvious it isn't even funny. Just move into Novi, little Sweden, hang out like it's the old country. I can't even understand why anyone else is in the running. It makes no sense to me whatsoever. All they (Swedes) do is come here, they're comfortable, they play better than they ever have in their life."


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