First, it was the failed courtship of a talented, young Farjestads star forward named Fabian Brunnstrom, who went on to post an impressive 17 goal rookie campaign for the Dallas Stars. Then Toronto went back to the Swedish club and relieved them of one of their top stay at home defenders, bringing over Jonas Frogren to add some much needed grit and toughness. Early into this summer, Brian Burke turned his attention to Farjestads’ young goalie phenom, Jonas Gustavsson, in a highly publicized negotiation process. As if that wasn’t enough, the Leafs are rumored to now be attempting to steal away Farjestad’s captain, forward Rickard Wallin as well. Their rising young forward, top defensive defenseman, top young goaltender and now their captain. Something tells me their fans aren’t too thrilled with the Leafs.
The report recently surfaced in the Swedish newspaper that 29 year old captain Rickard Wallin is expected to make a bid to jump over the NHL next season. Although he recently signed a 4 year contract to remain with Farjestads, there is a clause that allows him to leave for the NHL before July 15th. The apparent frontrunners for the talented playmaking forward at this point would be the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Now there are two very interesting storylines to consider here. On one hand, it makes sense that the Maple Leafs are exhausting every possible avenue when it comes to accumulating under 30 talent without sacrificing assets. Wallin is a 6’3, 201 lb forward with some excellent offensive skills, plays with an edge, and is a useful disrupting presence in front of the net on the powerplay. The drawback is that as a player of that size, he’s not exactly the fleetest of foot. That certainly sounds like an intriguing replacement for a player that was recently let go by the Maple Leafs, doesn’t it?
Perhaps the more interesting twist to this story is the obvious fact that he’s a teammate of the highly sought after goaltender Jonas Gustavsson. Having recently lost his mother, Jonas is currently having a tough time making a decision and is seeking out the comfort of friends and family. He recently had dinner with Jonas Frogren to discuss the merits of playing in Toronto, and had a similar outing with Fabian Brunnstrom. Bringing over the team’s captain and veteran teammate Rickard Wallin may be a brilliant tactical move by Burke to ease the tension of a brand new start, thus tipping the balance in Toronto’s favor.
This move, if true, certainly seems like a nice fit on a multitude of levels and this time, there at least appears to be some sort of concrete deadline.
Always a pleasure,