Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Beyond Brunnstrom: Dredging for Talent

So Fabian Brunnstrom has flown. To Dallas.

The Canadiens were losers in these sweepstakes, but nowhere near a big losers as those teams not even mentioned in the sweepstakes.

How many teams were looking at Brunnstrom?

Six? Maybe eight?

This is a free player. Through development. You can see how he plays against men. Albeit not NHL players, but the risk is still so minimal compared to an entry draft pick. What's more the alleged bonus-laden contract takes the sting of potential flop away almost completely.

The teams not looking at players like these are behind the times. Detroit, Dallas, Montreal. No surprise teams like Florida, Columbus, Chicago and Phoenix aren't on the list.

So what to do now that Fabian's gone?

Back on the horse, I say. Detroit got back on the horse with immediate effect. They picked up Ville Leino, making time for the talks in the midst of a Stanley Cup quest.

That makes two conference finalists thinking ahead. The Canadiens need to keep up.

The Canadiens also have a precedent for this kind of behaviour. They signed Oleg Petrov after a brilliant Swiss season, they signed Mark Streit, they took Cristobal Huet on board based on his foreign league stats. Their most recent gamble was Janne Lahti from last summer. It looks like it didn't pay off, but at least we're still in the hunt for these freebies.

I think I have a name for them: Eric Westrum.

I have put him forward as an option before. And as I mentioned then:

He played for the Springfield Falcons and Utah Grizzlies like Streit. Check.
After trying to make it in North America, he turned to the Swiss League, where he picked up his offensive numbers. Check.

What's even more interesting is that Erik's Dad is Pat Westrum, the Montreal Canadiens hotshot scout.

Sure he's a risk, but he's big, he's a winger, he's dominated a foreign league and he's Habs family...

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