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Thursday, January 13, 2011
Stars trade Fabian Brunnstrom to Toronto

By Mark Stepneski

Fabian Brunnstrom’s days in the Dallas Stars organization are over. The Stars Thursday traded Brunnstrom to the Toronto Maple Leafs for right wing Mikhail Stefanovich, who is currently playing in Russia’s KHL.

Brunnstrom, a highly sought after free agent out of Sweden in 2008, had been playing for the Texas Stars of the AHL since early this season.  He had 11 goals and 10 assists in 37 games with Texas. Brunnstrom is expected to join Toronto’s AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, this weekend.

The  highly touted Brunnstrom never lived up to the lofty expectations placed on him when there were several teams pursuing him three years ago.

After signing with the Stars in the spring of 2008, Brunnstrom had an excellent rookie season in 2008-09, registering 17 goals in 55 games with Dallas. His second season didn’t go quite as well. In 2009-10 registered only 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists) in 44 games. He was slowed by injuries and found himself a healthy scratch quite a few times as well. There were a couple of conditioning assignments in the AHL.

He had a strong start at the Stars training camp in Prince Edward Island this season, but he faded and could never secure a spot in the lineup. The Stars finally decided that he needed time in the American Hockey League. They put him on waivers October 15, he cleared the next day and was assigned to the AHL, where he has been ever since.

Thursday’s trade saves some money for the Stars, who added about $1.4 million to their payroll with the recent acquisition of Jamie Langenbrunner in a trade with New Jersey.

Brunnstrom is on a one-way contract, which pays him the same whether he plays in the NHL or AHL. He was making $675,000, so the Stars will no longer be paying his salary for the rest of the season. They also saved some money when they moved Brandon Segal to the AHL. Segal is on a two-way contract, which pays him $130,000 in the minors compared to the $550,000 he makes at the NHL level.

Stefanovich, who comes to the Stars in the deal with the Maple Leafs, is currently playing with Minsk Dynamo of the KHL, where he has one goal and a minus-two rating in 15 games. The 21-year-old native of Belarus, also played two games this season for the Toronto Marlies in the AHL, registering no points. He logged 4 games with the Reading of the ECHL, picking up three goals and two assists.

Stefanovich, a fourth round (98th overall) pick by the Maple Leafs in 2008, played three seasons for the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he had 210 points (106 goals, 104 assists) in 171 games.