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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

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