Originally posted on NHL Hot Stove  |  Last updated 10/3/11

By Patrick Powell

The Detroit Red Wings have signed non roster camp invitee Fabian Brunnstrom to a 1 year, $600,000.00 contract. Brunnstrom was a hot commodity while playing in the Swedish Elite League in 2007-2008. The Dallas Stars won the sweepstakes, and Brunnstrom made a heck of a first impression with the Stars. He became the third player in NHL history to record a hat trick in his first game (He also recorded the game winner in a 6-4 Stars’ victory.). He joined Alex Smart of the Montreal Canadiens (1943) and Real Cloutier of the Quebec Nordiques (1979). (Note: Derek Stepan of the New York Rangers became the fourth member of this illustrious club in 2010.) Brunnstrom went on to put up 17 goals and 29 points in 55 contests in his rookie season. Since then, he recorded just 2 goals in 44 NHL games. In Detroit, he will need to be only a tertiary scorer with the likes of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Valtieri Filppula, Dan Cleary, and Tomas Holmstrom. The 26 year old Swede earned a roster spot by potting 3 goals with a +1 rating in 6 pre-season games. The Red Wings enter the regular season armed with a dangerous 23 man roster and $5.2 million in available cap space.

Veteran goaltender Ray Emery has found an NHL home in Chicago. On Monday, he signed a 1 year/$600,000.00 contract to back up incumbent netminder Corey Crawford. The 29 year old Hamilton, Ontario native posted an impressive 7-2 mark with a 2.26 goals against average in ten games for the Anaheim Ducks last season. Emery defeated 24 year old Alexander Salak in the battle for the back up job in Chicago’s camp. The Blackhawks will enter the 2011-2012 campaign with approximately $5 million of cap space. Their secondary players may determine how far they advance this year. The Hawks are looking for breakout seasons from Rostislav Olesz, Viktor Stalberg, and Michael Frolik. 38 year old Andrew Brunette and 39 year old Sean O’Donnell are trying to prove that they have enough gas in their respective gas tanks for one more rodeo.

Philadelphia Flyers’ General Manager Paul Holmgren seemed to tip his hand today on one young player- Matt Read has apparently earned a spot on the Flyers’ opening night roster. Read’s strong two-way play in the pre-season indicates that he can compete at the NHL level, but the Flyers are left with yet another cap dilemma. Assuming that top prospect Brayden Schenn has earned a roster spot, the Flyers currently have but $175,000 in available cap space. 2011 top draft pick Sean Couturier also may be in line for a spot on opening night with his strong defensive play in camp. Veteran Blair Betts ($700,000 cap hit) is on the bubble. The Flyers will need to walk the tightrope with the cap again as they make their final roster decisions prior to Wednesday afternoon’s deadline.

New Jersey Devils’ top pick in the 2011 draft, Adam Larsson, has earned a spot on the opening night roster. Larsson is likely to log 20 minutes per game and to pair with sniper Ilya Kovalchuk on the point of the Devils’ top power play unit. Larsson has signed a 3 year entry level contract worth $925,000 per season. Former Devil and current nonroster camp invitee Petr Sykora appears to be awaiting his fate as the Devils have pared their forward ranks down to 14. The Devils have close to $5.5 million in available cap space, so that will not be an impediment to signing Sykora. The strength of the Devils is their blue line, much as it was in the mid 1990s with Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer as the anchors. They are counting on 2 goaltenders who were born during the Nixon Administration. Martin Brodeur is arguably one of the best to play the position, but what can he provide the Devils at this point in his career? Johan Hedberg is looking to follow a season in which he posted his career-best goals against average (2.38) in the NHL with another strong season. Has he found his prime in his late 30s? Offensively, is Ilya Kovalchuk going to fit into the Devils’ system and excel? Will Zach Parise and Patrik Elias stay healthy? Will either be dealt for prospects if the Devils start slowly? It could all come together for the Devils, but they seem to have more questions than answers at this juncture.

Two handers, slew foots, and face washes are always welcome on Twitter @Gordsie


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