Swedish outlet The Expressen is reporting that 23-year-old Swedish defenceman Calle Rosén will sign with the Maple Leafs after the conclusion of the World Championships.
The report comes on the heels of the news on Wednesday, broken by The Athletic, that the Maple Leafs and Blackhawks are the two frontrunners for Rosén’s services. Nothing is official at this time, with The Expressen reporting that a contract won’t be finalized until after the World Championships wrap up in late May.
Rosén, a left-handed shot listed at 6’0, 176 pounds, made the jump to top-flight Swedish hockey in 2015-16, recording 14 points in 52 games for Vaxjo Lakers HC and a further five points in 13 playoff games.
In his sophomore year in the SHL in 2016-17, Rosén finished 11th among defencemen in points scoring and second among U24 defencemen with 19 points in 41 games played. His partnership alongside Philip Holm was seen as one of the most reliable defence pairings in the league, with Holm finishing at the top of the SHL in plus/minus at +24 and Rosén not far behind at +19 (sixth among SHL defencemen).
Vaxjo finished at the top of the SHL standings in the regular season with a 26-12-7-7 record but lost out in the quarterfinal of the playoffs in six games to the eighth-seeded Malmo Redhawks.
A rough translation of a Hockey Sverige.se article by Uffe Bodin described Rosén like so:
Like Martinsson, he had a chance to go to North America already this season. The decision to stay in SHL has proved to be really good. Rosen has grown into an exciting national team defenceman and has logged significant minutes for Vaxjo. Injuries have been partly hampered his progress, but not enough to damage his chances of being selected. He has that mobile and skillful game NHL clubs are dying for since the Pittsburgh Penguins went on to win the Stanley Cup with a “modern” defence group. A lot of clubs out in North America is reported to be interested in Rosen and the final question is really just which of them he should choose.
Rosen will compete for Team Sweden at the upcoming IIHF World Championships (he’s been playing alongside Holm in pre-tournament so far) if he can make the cut. He has represented Sweden before in seven international junior tournaments.
“To play in the NHL is the biggest dream you can have as a hockey player,” Rosen told Hockey Sverige.se in January.