Reviewing Burke's Moves - #1

Hey guys, i'm going to be writing about Burke's moves up to the deadline, reviewing them in-depth. Hopefully there's lots to write about!


Earlier this week, Brian Burke made a deal with the Dallas Stars to move them prospect Mikhail Stefanovich for Fabian Brunnstrom. I haven't seen much talk about this yet, so here goes.

Fabian Brunnstrom; the potential offensive stud that was the third player in NHL history to record a hat-trick his first game? Or the player that is oh-so often rushed into the NHL by a team, and has their developement ruined? Well, lets go back to the start of his career. Brunnstrom began his professional career in Sweden in 2005-2006, playing for Jonstorps IF, recording 44 points in 38 games. In his next year, he played for Borås HC, where he recorded a league-leading 73 points, in 41 games. His third year of professional hockey was played for Elitserien team Färjestads BK, putting up 37 points in 54 games. It was in his third year of pro that he really started to gather attention from NHL teams. Red Wings, and Canucks were said to be the front runner, but couldn't work out a deal to bring Brunnstrom to Canada. Eventually, on May 8th, 2008, Brunnstrom signed a 2 year entry-level contract, worth $.850m (US).

Since joining the NHL, Brunnstrom saw his fair share of good, and is now in the middle of his fair share of absolutely horrible. His first year of pro saw him put up 17 goals and 12 assists, for 29 points in 55 games. In his first NHL game, became the third player to ever record a hat trick in his first game. Since then, he has played in 44 more NHL games, scoring 2 goals and 9 assists for 11 points. Bust? Presumably... but maybe not.

His pro totals show that he has incredible potential... for instance;

In Sweden:

GP - 136
G - 67
A - 87
PIM - 51

That's a total 154 points, in 136 games... 1.13 points/game.

In NHL: (+ is AHL)

GP - 99 (+ 9)
G - 19 (+ 1)
A - 21 (+ 4)
PIM - 18 (+ 2)

That accounts for a total of 40 points, in 99 games... .4 points/game.

Obviously, there's no comparing the Swedish Leagues to NHL. They aren't anywhere close in skill level, BUT, you cannot argue the potential. Who knows, Brunnstrom could thrive within the Leafs organisation, or he could not.


Mikhail Stefanovich; a fair price to pay? Or did the Leafs just get incredibly ripped off? Stefanovich is 4 years younger than Brunnstrom, but does he have the same potential? Stefanovich started his playing career in his home country of Belarus, playing tier two there for HC Dinamo-2 Minsk and HC Homiel-2. After about two seasons of tier two, HC Homiel called him up to the Belarusian Eliteleague, where he finished off the season and created a name for himself on the North American scouting charts.

Upon arriving in North America and playing with the Quebec Ramparts, scouts soon noticed that Stefanovich needed to pick up his physical play, and that he wasn't a great skater.

Stefanovich's stats show that it WAS a good move by Burke:

His totals in Belarus are as follows:

GP - 42
G - 16
A - 9
PIM - 43

His totals in the QMJHL are as follows:

GP - 207
G - 124
A - 122
PIM - 89

Although Stefanovich's stats in the QMJHL look pretty nice, you cannot compare them to the current experience Brunnstrom already has... He may be younger, but I personally do not think he will develop into anything more than a minor player...

I say? Well done Burke, keep it coming.


Patrick Storto's picture

I'm willing to bet that Brunnstrom is off to either Sweden or the KHL at the end of this season, so I don't even know if he's worth caring about. Those Swedish numbers he put up are ridiculous especially when you consider that Sweden doesn't count the second assist on goals. But like you also mentioned, that's Sweden, and this is the NHL.

He started off nicely in the NHL, I don't know what's happened to this kid. It seemed from day one though that he was just here to collect his pay cheque, and that's what he did. He has potential no doubt, but IMO he's been mailing it in. If he can turn it around with what's left of this season then great, if not, don't let the door hit you on the way out Fabian.

George Prax's picture

I don't know much about Stefanovich but reading up on him it seemed as if he had a lot of potential but could never stick with any level of the club with the Leafs.... bounced around from the AHL to the ECHL and loaned to the KHL... doesn't sound like the right path for a young player with good size. Seemed like he performed well internationally and obviously he was more than a PPG player in Junior but if the Leafs didn't want to give him a shot then might as well try and get something for him.

As for Brunnstrom, this kid was an All-Hype All-Star when he was producing insane numbers in the SEL, and then after a strong start in Dallas it just kind of dwindled for some reason... Maybe he just didn't fit with the club or maybe he doesn't have what it takes, but hey, the Leafs were interested in signing him back when the Stars got him, can't blame them for giving him a shot now.

I don't think Stefanovich is a big loss for the Leafs as they didn't seem committed to giving him a shot, so why not take a chance on Brunnstrom.

Decent deal.

Daniel_W's picture

I really don't think Brunnstrom was here to collect his pay cheque. I think he was rushed, it's hard for a player like him, playing a different style is a huge thing, and moving so far away from home is another thing. It's hard on guys i'm sure. I really do think he should have been put right in the farm system in Dallas, and should be coming up now.

Mitch H's picture

Rumour out of the Edmonton Journal this week that the Stars are using Jamie Benn as trade bait in the hopes of luring an offensive defenseman.

Daniel_W's picture

I like the sounds of Benn a Leaf Wink