Carlo Colaiacovo, Fabian Brunnstrom

Report: Failed prospect Fabian Brunnstrom to get try out with Red Wings


When Fabian Brunnstrom came to the NHL three years ago from Sweden, he was hotly pursued by the Red Wings, Canadiens, and Stars. Ultimately the Stars signed the highly-touted forward and it was seen as a coup beating out the Sweden-friendly Red Wings. The 6’1″ 205 pound forward had a lot of promise and going to a team like Dallas was seen to be a big move for the organization.

After his first season in Dallas that saw him score 17 goals in 55 games, there was promise.¬†Three years later, Brunnstrom was traded in a minor league deal to Toronto and spent the entirety of last season in the AHL with the Texas Stars and Toronto Marlies. After being unable to make his mark on the NHL, it was expected that Brunnstrom’s try at becoming the latest Swedish star sensation was over. As it turns out, he’ll get one more chance to prove his worth in training camp next month with the same Detroit Red Wings that attempted to land him back in 2008.

Swedish news site Aftonbladet reports that Brunnstrom will get a training camp invitation from the Red Wings to see if he can unleash his untapped potential with a host of other Swedish countrymen to help him blend in. Having Nicklas Lidstrom, Johan Franzen, Henrik Zetterberg, Jonathan Ericsson, and Tomas Holmstrom there to show him the way things are done in Detroit may help him out.

Brunnstrom could also be out of luck with such a loaded Red Wings organization that also has Swedish phenom Gustav Nyqvist gunning to find a spot in the rotation as well. With Nyqvist being the new hotness and Brunnstrom being the old and busted part of the talent search, Brunnstrom’s chances to earn a contract with the organization will be tough. Since he’s just getting a tryout, that means he’ll have to perform better than other players who are already locked into deals with the team and the others they’ll also have in on a tryout basis. For Brunnstrom, taking the easy route won’t be an option this time if he wants to stay in the NHL.

DiMaio named Blues’ director of player personnel

via St. Louis Blues
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The St. Louis Blues named Rob DiMaio their director of player personnel on Tuesday.

He’s been with the organization for some time. He joined as a pro scout in 2008 and was the pro scouting director starting in August 2012.

He was also a scout for the Dallas Stars before landing with the Blues (one would assume his biggest connection is GM Doug Armstrong, then).

In case his nose didn’t give it away, he also enjoyed a lengthy hockey career over 19 seasons.

No doubt about it, this is a pivotal season for the Blues after multiple campaigns in which strong regular seasons dissolved into playoff disappointments. Perhaps DiMaio can make a difference in a heightened role?

Hitchcock going to more aggressive attack for Blues

Ken Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS (AP) After three straight first-round playoff exits, the St. Louis Blues have learned to temper expectations.

They have been consistently among the NHL’s best in the regular season and realize it is past time to build something for the long haul. The sting still lingers from the latest failure, against the Minnesota Wild last spring.

“We’re all disappointed, everybody can agree on that,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s never easy to kind of think about your failures, but we grow every time it happens.”

Management isn’t ready to tear it all down yet.

“We play, in my opinion, one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NHL, and we’ve finished first or second in the last four years,” forward Alexander Steen said. “So we have an extremely powerful team.”

Maybe a change in strategy will be enough: Coach Ken Hitchcock is back with a mandate for a more aggressive, even reckless, style of play from a roster that hasn’t changed appreciably.

“We’re coming hard from the back and we’re coming hard to see how close we can get to the attack,” Hitchcock said. “I think it’s where the game’s at; I think it’s where the game’s going to go.”

The 63-year-old Hitchcock is pushing forward, too, unwilling to dwell on the flameouts. Coach and players agree that would be “wasted energy.”

“My opinion is when you sit and think about the past, you do yourself no good,” Hitchcock said. “If you learn from the past, that’s when you do yourself a whole bunch of good.”

There were only two major roster casualties. Forward Troy Brouwer came from Washington in a trade for fan favorite T.J. Oshie. Defenseman Barret Jackman, the franchise career leader in games, wasn’t re-signed.

“If you were expecting 23 new faces to be on the roster this year, I don’t think that was realistic,” captain David Backes said. “We’re going to miss those guys in the room and on the ice, but there has been some changeover and I think it’s pretty significant.”

Things to watch for with the Blues:

GOALIE SHUFFLE: Just like last year, there’s no true No. 1 with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen sharing duties. The 25-year-old Allen missed a chance to seize the job last spring when he failed to raise his level in the playoffs.

TOP THREAT: Vladimir Tarasenko had a breakout season with 37 goals and was rewarded with an eight-year, $60 million contract. The 23-year-old winger is by far the Blues’ most dangerous scoring option and said he won’t let the money affect his play. “I never worry about it,” Tarasenko said. “If you play good, you play good.”

NEW FACES: Brouwer and center Kyle Brodziak add a physical element that was perhaps lacking a bit last season. Brouwer has three 20-plus goal seasons and Brodziak, acquired from Minnesota, fills a checking role. Veteran forward Scottie Upshall got a one-year, two-way deal after being coming to camp as a tryout. Rookie forward Robby Fabbri, a first-round pick last year, will get an early look. Another promising youngster, forward Ty Rattie, begins the year at Chicago of the AHL.

RECOVERY WARD: Forward Jori Lehteri bounced back quickly from ankle surgery and opens the season without restrictions. Another forward, Patrik Berglund, could miss half of the season following shoulder surgery.

TRACK RECORD: The Blues won the Central Division last season and Hitchcock, fourth on the career list with 708 regular-season wins, has consistently had the team near the top of the standings. “He is our coach, tough cookies if you don’t like it,” Backes said. “From my experience, he puts together one heck of a game plan.”