Red Wings sign Brunnstrom (updated 2x with press release and terms)

UPDATE, 2:13pm

Darren Dreger tweets that Brunnstrom’s one-year, two-way will make $600,000 if he sticks around all season with the Red Wings, and $105,000 in the AHL.

What that means is that he will not be subject to re-entry waivers if he is sent down to Grand Rapids and recalled at any point during the season. However, he will still need to clear waivers to be sent down in the first place.

Following an impressive tryout in the pre-season, the Detroit Red Wings have officially signed forward Fabian Brunnstrom to a one-year contract, according to sources on the inside (hi, Mom!). Financial terms have not been disclosed.

Brunnstrom burst into the league’s consciousness in the summer before the 2008-09 NHL season. Several teams, including the Red Wings, were jockeying for position to sign the Swedish standout. Eventually, he chose the Dallas Stars — the Red Wings dropped out when it became a circus act — and became the third player in NHL history to score a hat trick in his NHL debut.

He would play in 55 games that season, scoring 17 goals and 12 assists. The following year was split between Dallas and their AHL affiliate in Austin. Last season, he didn’t get a sniff with Dallas and was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs (and he remained with their AHL club). Toronto opted not to re-sign the struggling Brunnstrom, and he decided to come to Wings camp on a tryout, hoping to turn some heads and earn a contract.

Brunnstrom said publicly he was open to spending some time in Grand Rapids while he became acquainted with the system. He made it clear that this organization is the one he hoped to catch on with, and his on-ice play showed it. He was one of the more impressive players who made things interesting when it came time to predict who would make the team. With Jan Mursak and Cory Emmerton penciled in as the team’s 13th and 14th forwards — it seemed though there were no roster spots to be had.

But Brunnstrom plugged away, notching three goals in the first four pre-season games and utilizing his big body to create space for his linemates. When Mursak fractured his ankle, it was all but assured that Brunnstrom would be signed to take Mursak’s place on the roster. Two other impressive forwards clawing for a roster spot — Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar — fought longer odds because they could be sent down to Grand Rapids without having to clear waivers first. Following Sunday night’s win against the Penguins, both of those young men were, in fact, demoted.

If Brunnstrom were to be assigned to the Griffins, he would first have to clear waivers. With a strong pre-season in Detroit, a team may put a claim in for him. However, there wasn’t much interest during the summer, so perhaps he’d clear if he were to be sent down.

It turns out that Brunnstrom’s signing may have been put in motion before the pre-season even began. General Manager Ken Holland told MLive’s Ansar Khan that he had already had a conversation with Brunnstrom’s agent about what it would be required to get Fabian to sign with the Wings — assuming he makes the team with his tryout:

When we talked about a tryout contract, at the same time we talked about if things did go good in the tryout, what it would take to sign him. What they were thinking contract wise, what we were thinking contract wise. We were on the same page. I’m comfortable with what it’s going to take to get a contract done if we choose to sign him.

UPDATED, 1:37pm. From the Detroit Red Wings Press Department, making it official:

Detroit Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland today announced that the team has signed free agent forward Fabian Brunnstrom to a one-year, two-way contract. As per club policy, no additional terms of the deal will be disclosed.

A native of Jonstorp, Sweden, Brunnstrom tallied 6GP-3G-0A-3P for the Red Wings during the 2011 pre-season, tying him with Gustav Nysquist for the team lead in goals.  The 6’2”, 212-lb. winger previously appeared in 99 games with the Dallas Stars from 2008-2010, registering 19G-21A-40P in addition to 18PIM. Brunnstrom became just the third player in NHL history to record a hat trick in his first career game on October 15, 2008, finding the back of the net three times during a 6-4 Dallas win over Nashville. In 81 career games at the AHL level, Brunnstrom has amassed 16G-24A-40P for the Texas Stars, Manitoba Moose, and Toronto Marlies.

The Red Wings also announced they have released veteran forward Ryan Johnson.  The 35-year-old center was in Detroit’s camp on a professional tryout.  Johnson has played in 701 career NHL games with the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks.

Photo Credit: Detroit Red Wings

Wings cut 12 more…

Following the pre-season finale against the Pittsburgh Penguins (a 3-2 victory for the good guys), the Red Wings announced that the following players have been sent to Grand Rapids:

Joakim Andersson, F
Travis Ehrhardt, D
Landon Ferraro, F
Brian Lashoff, D
Gustav Nyquist, F
Jordan Pearce, G
Tomas Tatar, F
Brent Raedeke, F

Gustav Nyquist had an unbelievable exhibition season and it’s clear he’ll be with the Red Wings sooner rather than later. When asked for a comment after the game, Mike Babcock said that Nyquist “looks like an NHL player” before stating that it’s just the Red Wings’ way to send guys down to the minors to see what they can do for a longer stretch. Tomas Tatar also proved that he won’t be far behind, and will likely get a call-up during the season.

In addition, four players will be waived on Monday at noon — available to the other 29 teams for a period of 24 hours. Should they clear, they’ll report to the Griffins.

Chris Conner, F
Garnet Exelby, D
Doug Janik, D
Joey MacDonald, G

By my count, there are four guys left in camp whose futures are uncertain.

Logan Pyett, D
Pyett will have to clear waivers to be sent down to the Griffins this season, but he was not included in Jim Nill’s list of guys that will be exposed on Monday afternoon. Either he takes Mike Commodore’s spot as the 7th defenseman, or it was a simple oversight. He’s done nothing to prove that he belongs in Detroit, except spend several seasons in the AHL.

Chris Minard, F
Minard didn’t even get into many pre-season games, so I have to assume that he’ll be on the waiver list soon. He’s been a decent bottom six guy in the past, but I can’t imagine he’ll usurp the following guy and take the final spot on the roster.

Fabian Brunnstrom, F
There’s no way he’s not signed. Barring some unforeseen craziness, Brunnstrom is your 14th forward until Jan Mursak is set to return. Brunnstrom will have to be waived to be sent down to Grand Rapids when Mursak returns (assuming no one else is injured in the interim), but that’s a problem the team will deal with “WHEN.”

Ryan Johnson, F
I have no idea how he lasted as long as he did on a tryout. Way to make an impression, guy.

With all of that said, the following is what your final 2011-12 Detroit Red Wings roster should look like:

Bertuzzi — Datsyuk — Franzen
Filppula — Zetterberg — Cleary
Hudler — Helm — Eaves
Miller — Abdelkader — Holmstrom
(Emmerton, Brunnstrom)

Lidstrom — White
Stuart — Kronwall
Ericsson — Kindl



Top Call-ups, F: Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar
Top Call-ups, D: Brendan Smith (after suspension is served), Doug Janik
Top Call-up, G: Joey MacDonald

Roster spots on the line tonight

Four games remaining in the exhibition season — and chances are good we’ll be seeing the guys that are fighting for a roster spot in at least three of them. Tonight’s lineup against the Blackhawks features only a handful of regulars — but quite a few guys worth keeping an eye on in light of Jan Mursak’s injury.

Abdelkader :: Helm :: Conner
Miller :: R Johnson :: Eaves
Nyquist :: Emmerton :: Brunnstrom
Tatar :: Andersson :: Ferraro

Ericsson :: Kindl
Janik :: Smith
Ehrhardt :: Commodore


In limited pre-season television viewing, I’ve got the in-the-hunt players ranked THUSLY:

13 Mursak — Very fast. Very competent. Very unfortunately timed injury.
14 Tatar — Really beginning to show he might belong in the NHL, but probably won’t be because he CAN go down.
15 Nyquist — The most exciting prospect in years. He’s not far off, but — like Tatar — he can play big minutes in GR.
16 Emmerton — Good, but not exceptional. Kind of a “default” insertion into the lineup. May get the Ritola treatment.
17 Brunnstrom — Could certainly use some getting accustomed to the system in Grand Rapids, if signed.
18 Conner — I was looking forward to him, but I’m underwhelmed so far. Not pushing the guys above him.
19 R. Johnson — Doesn’t sound like he’s interested in the AHL, and hasn’t proven he belongs in Detroit. Buh bye.
20 Andersson — A far shot off of the rest of the pack. Not even sure why he’s still in camp.

5 Kindl — Remarkably good given the small chances he’s gotten to play big minutes.
6 Ericsson — Looks steady (when compared to the scrubs who dress for the pre-season).
7 Commodore — I haven’t noticed a single second of his on-ice play. His mall tour, on the other hand…
8 Janik — It’s pretty clear he’ll be in Grand Rapids, but he’s not at all a bad option for a 7th/8th defenseman.
9 Smith — Needs some more seasoning in the AHL. Didn’t push for a spot the way Tatar and Nyquist have up front.
10 Lashoff — Really interesting prospect. Will he ever be an NHL kind of guy? Maybe… but not this year or next.
11 Exelby — Meh.

Photo Credit: Dave Chidley, AP/The Canadian Press

Sixteen cut, 39 players remain


On Tuesday morning, the Detroit Red Wings cut sixteen players from their training camp roster — either assigning the players to the Grand Rapids Griffins, or releasing them outright.

Louis-Marc Aubry, Mitchell Callahan, Willie Coetzee, Gleason Fournier, Jamie Johnson (who was on waivers yesterday), Thomas McCollum, Andrej Nestrasil, Francis Pare, Trevor Parkes, Sebastien Piche, and Brent Raedeke were assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins — the AHL affiliate of the Red Wings.

Greg Amadio, Adam Estoclet, and Bryan Rufenach were also assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins. The three men are on AHL-only contracts, meaning they are not able to be called up to the Red Wings.

Nick Oslund, a former Red Wings draft pick like Rufenach, was also assigned to the Griffins. He is not under contract to either club, but will attend Griffins training camp and compete for a spot on the AHL team’s roster.

Goaltending tryout Ramis Sadikov was given his outright release and is free to sign with any club he wishes.

The following players remain in camp and in the fight for a Red Wings roster spot. The club may carry 23 players, but there may be 24 spots available since Jan Mursak is slated to miss three months with a fractured left ankle.

29 Ty Conklin (one-way)
31 Joey MacDonald
35 Jimmy Howard (one-way)
36 Jordan Pearce

2 Brendan Smith
3 Garnet Exelby
4 Jakub Kindl (one-way)
5 Nicklas Lidstrom (one-way)
18 Ian White (one-way)
22 Mike Commodore (one-way)
23 Brad Stuart (one-way)
25 Brian Lashoff
27 Travis Ehrhardt
32 Logan Pyett
37 Doug Janik (one-way)
52 Jonathan Ericsson (one-way)
55 Niklas Kronwall (one-way)

8 Justin Abdelkader (one-way)
11 Dan Cleary (one-way)
13/24 Pavel Datsyuk (one-way)
14 Gustav Nyquist
15 Fabian Brunnstrom (TRYOUT)
17 Patrick Eaves (one-way)
20 Drew Miller (one-way)
21 Tomas Tatar
26 Jiri Hudler (one-way)
39 Jan Mursak (one-way, injured)
40 Henrik Zetterberg (one-way)
41 Chris Conner
42 Ryan Johnson (TRYOUT)
43 Darren Helm (one-way)
44 Todd Bertuzzi (one-way)
45 Chris Minard
48 Cory Emmerton
51 Valtteri Filppula (one-way)
57 Landon Ferraro
63 Joakim Andersson
93 Johan Franzen (one-way)
96 Tomas Holmstrom (one-way)

Red Wings cut ten

Following the second day of main training camp, the Detroit Red Wings announced that they’ve cut ten players from the roster, leaving 56 players vying for a shot to make an impression on the braintrust.

Players returning to their Junior teams include Brooks Macek (Tri-City), Petr Mrazek (Ottawa), Richard Nedomlel (Swift Current), Xavier Ouellet (Blainville-Boisbriand), Alan Quine (Peterborough), Ryan Sproul (Sault Ste. Marie), and Marek Tvrdon (Vancouver). The Red Wings will maintain their draft picks’ rights.

Tryouts Artem Segreev (Val d’Or), Zach Franko (Kelowna), and Evan Mosher (formerly of PEI) were released outright and are free to sign with any team they wish.

Fabian Brunnstrom, Ryan Johnson, Nick Oslund, and Ramis Sadikov remain in camp, and are playing for a contract. Bryan Rufenach, Adam Estoclet, and Greg Amadio remain in camp, and have a contract to play in Grand Rapids this upcoming season.

THE CHART has been updated to reflect today’s cuts, if you venture over to the “CAMP” tab.

It begins…

First things first, if you don’t already — subscribe to, and visit often, The Left Wing Lock. Sarah Lindenau is doing excellent work in Traverse City and delivering some awesome photos. Prospect camp is already underway, with the Wings dropping their first two games to youngsters representing the Wild and Blue Jackets.

If you haven’t already heard, Brendan Smith is wearing a “C” on his sweater during the prospect tournament. In years past, the Red Wings have declined to name a captain for this tournament or pre-season, instead opting to give the impression that there’s only one captain, and it’s Steve Yzerman (and later, Nicklas Lidstrom).

Starting Thursday, the big guns will get down to business. The Wings sent out a press release yesterday itemizing the schedule, beginning with a 9:00 am flight to Traverse City. For the fifth year, players and team representatives will be making stops at various locations along the way, including a medical center in Flint, an Air National Guard base in Battle Creek, an elementary school in Bay City, and DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. .

First thing Friday, the team will undergo physicals before their media availability and charity golf tournament. Saturday’s schedule changed a bit to allow the team to return to Detroit for Brad McCrimmon’s funeral services.

You’ll be able to follow along with the following chart as the team is trimmed down to the eventual 23-man roster that will be on your opening day roster. Feel free to sort by number, name, or date of release. We’ll be updating it and re-posting it as the cuts become available.

[table id=33 /]

Fabian Brunnström To Try-out With Wings

From the department of “interesting” news, our friends over at Puck Daddy are reporting that the Red Wings have signed former Swedish Elite League  –  and Dallas Stars/Toronto Maple Leafs – forward Fabian Brunnström to a try-out contract. The source of the report – Aftonbladet’s Tomas Ros – notes that Brunnström turned down contracts to play for HV71 Jonkoping and Farjestads BK in an attempt to find his way back to an NHL roster this season.

For those who have a solid long-term memory, you’ll recall that Ken Holland did his best to bring Brunnström to the Wings back in 2008, ultimately watching the Dallas Stars win that race. While his start was hot – a hat trick against the Nashville Predators in his NHL debut – Brunnström quickly did his best Johan Franzen “meteoric return to Earth” impression and currently holds 19 goals and 21 assists in 99 games played.

What does it mean for both parties? For the Wings, it’s a low-risk shot at a player with lots of hypothetical “upside” who may be ready to do the work required to eventually make it to the big club and potentially adds some depth to the roster. For Brunnström, it’s the chance to show he’s matured to the point where he can be considered an NHL player, although he’ll likely find himself AHL bound instead. As a point-of-procedure, should Brunnström get a full contract from the Wings, he would have to clear waivers to be sent down to Grand Rapids.

Wings Lose Ritola to Tampa, Place Meech and Maltby on Waivers

Busy few minutes for the Red Wings organization on Tuesday afternoon, as we all learned Mattias Ritola was claimed off of waivers by Tampa Bay Lightning and Steve Yzerman. He had lost the battle for the final spot on the roster to Drew Miller, and in an attempt to sneak him down to Grand Rapids, he was exposed to the waiver wire. There’s no word on how many teams actually put their claim in, but he’ll join the Lightning in time for the season opener.

Ironically, it was the Lightning who waived Drew Miller last season, giving the Wings the opportunity to snatch up a valuable player that found a home in Motown, killing penalties and playing strong fourth line minutes. It sounds odd, but Ritola-to-Tampa, Miller-to-Detroit can be viewed as a delayed trade. And it’s a trade I’d make 100 times out of 100.

While it’s upsetting to lose a player for nothing — particularly, a player that you’ve drafted and developed — it was clear that he wasn’t demanding a place on this roster the way that other young players have — such as Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader.

Other players that were waived yesterday — Jan Mursak, Joey MacDonald, and Doug Janik — all cleared and will report to Grand Rapids.

In order to get under the 23-man roster limit, the Red Wings needed to make a few more trims, and at noon it was announced that long-time Grind Line winger Kirk Maltby and defenseman Derek Meech were placed on waivers. Teams have until noon on Wednesday to make a claim for either. If they go unclaimed, both will be assigned to Grand Rapids. Whether they report, however, is another story…

With Meech and Maltby’s waiving, the team is down to 23 players. Meet your 2010-11 Detroit Red Wings:

4 Jakub Kindl
5 Nicklas Lidstrom
8 Justin Abdelkader
11 Dan Cleary
13 Pavel Datsyuk
17 Patrick Eaves
20 Drew Miller
23 Brad Stuart
24 Ruslan Salei
26 Jiri Hudler
28 Brian Rafalski
30 Chris Osgood
33 Kris Draper
35 Jimmy Howard
40 Henrik Zetterberg
43 Darren Helm
44 Todd Bertuzzi
51 Valtteri Filppula
52 Jonathan Ericsson
55 Niklas Kronwall
90 Mike Modano
93 Johan Franzen
96 Tomas Holmstrom

Lilja Expects to Sign With SJ, Agent Won’t Confirm

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Andreas Lilja  of the San Jose Sharks is chased by Corey Perry  of the Anaheim Ducks during the first period at Honda Center on September 22, 2010 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

It appears that Andreas Lilja believes he has found an NHL home, although confirmation from San Jose and Lilja’s agent is still pending. Expressen (H/T to @georgemalik) is reporting that Lilja has told them he will be signing a contract to play in San Jose this season:

“‘Yes, I had a meeting with club director after the game and he said they want to keep me, so I asked him to talk to my agent during the Thursday morning, ‘ said Lilja to”

Today’s news comes on the heels of a two point (1 G, 1 A) evening for Lilja against the Vancouver Canucks.

Lilja’s agent, Todd Diamond, would not confirm that a contract was done, however:

“No news to report at this time. He will make he trip to Europe with the Sharks.”

The Sharks are heading over to Germany for a preseason tilt against Adler Mannheim, before kicking off the regular season against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Stockholm, Sweden on October 8th.

Tatar Among Five Headed Back to Grand Rapids

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 29: Tomas Tatar  of the Detroit Red Wings skates in warmups prior to his game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on September 29, 2010 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Red Wings 5-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Another day, another set of Red Wings prospects headed back down to Grand Rapids. Tomas Tatar, Brent Raedeke, Jordan Pearce, Jamie Johnson and Francis Pare all received word today that they are headed back to the AHL club to start the season, and all are expected to be in the lineup in a couple of hours when the Griffins host a closed scrimmage against the Lake Erie Monsters at Joe Louis Arena.

With five more on the move, the Wings roster now stands at 35 players by my count:

G (3)
Howard, Osgood, MacDonald

D (11)
Lidstrom, Kronwall, Rafalski, Stuart, Ericsson, Salei, Kindl, Meech, Smith, Lashoff, Janik

F (21)
Abdelkader, Cleary, Datsyuk, Eaves, Miller, Hudler, Draper, Zetterberg, Helm, Bertuzzi, Filppula, Modano, Franzen, Holmstrom, Ritola, Owens, Maltby, Mursak, Minard, Emmerton, Andersson

Still no clarity on the Minard injury situation, so for the time being he’ll hang out on the “roster.”

As for the Wings tilt tomorrow against Toronto, the lineups have been released and here’s how it all shakes out:

Franzen-V. Filppula-Bertuzzi



Apparently, Babbles was going to start Chris Osgood in tomorrow’s tilt, but will instead platoon the Grand Rapids tandem. Let’s hope it goes better than the stink-fest against NY yesterday.