After a promising rookie season, Fabian Brunnstrom saw a decrease in playing time and production last year.
Do you remember when Brunnstrom was being courted by a gaggle of NHL teams, including Detroit? The thinking was that he was going to be a solid forward with a scoring touch. Brunnstrom chose Dallas with the promise of playing time at the NHL level. The left wing had 29 points in 55 games in 2008-09 with a minus-8. When the Stars had injuries during that season, Brunnstrom got increased power-play time and was playing as much as 15 minutes per game.
This was supposed to be a year where he showed even more. It just didn't happen. Overall, he struggled. He managed just 11 points (nine of them assists) in 44 games and found himself a healthy scratch often.
Brunnstrom was given the chance to win a spot on Mike Ribeiro's line in training camp and was beaten out by Jamie Benn. It wasn't the start to the season that the Stars expected from him.
He just didn't show the consistency to warrant increased playing time. He was beaten off pucks and his defensive presence was lacking at times. He appears to be a player who thinks too much instead of simply reacting.
It doesn't appear that Brunnstrom is a player, even at 25, who fits into the club's future plans. They have some options as to what they do with him next season. He's a restricted free agent, so the Stars could make a qualifying offer of about $900,000 and then try to trade him. Or they could keep him and see if something clicks next season. The other option is to not make an offer and let Brunnstrom become an unrestricted free agent. But if the Stars choose that last option, they'd get nothing for him. We'll see what they decide to do.