Bob McKenzie joined Leafs Lunch on Friday, discussing the Leafs’ reported additions of Philip Holm and Calle Rosen and their plans to shore up their defensive depth this offseason.
McKenzie on Philip Holm:
The report I got is that he’s a real smooth-skating defenceman. Timing is everything; he’s got a goal and two assists today, so suddenly Leafs fans think they’re potentially getting this defenceman who is lighting it up offensively. He’s not known as an offensive defenceman in the Swedish league. His greatest asset is that he’s a real smooth skater, [but he’s] not overly creative and doesn’t play a whole lot of power play time in the Swedish league. [He’s] a mobile, defensive defenceman who has got a really good work ethic. I think one of the things the person who I know in Sweden said about him is that he knows what he is and what he isn’t. He knows he’s not Erik Karlsson so he plays a nice, controlled game, but he’s a real good skater and puck retriever and puck mover.
In his second appearance of the World Championships tournament versus Italy on Friday, Holm played on a pairing with Jonas Brodin and tallied a goal and two assists in 16:57 of action. More on the reported signing here.
More from McKenzie on Calle Rosen, who is on the roster but hasn’t made an appearance for Team Sweden at the WCs:
The other name we heard for a while was Calle Rosen, who is a really good skater and a really powerful player with a tremendous shot and one-timer, but there is a lot of inconsistency in his game. He’s got great tools, but it’s a really up and down game. I think those who follow him in the Swedish league say that he’s had some concussion issues in the Swedish league.
And on the Leafs addressing their defensive depth this offseason:
In any case, what I see with the Leafs is they’ve got a top three, and the top three is obvious — it’s Rielly- Gardiner-Zaitsev, or Rielly-Zaitsev-Gardiner, take your pick on the pecking order. And then it’s a matter of filling out four, five and six and trying to upgrade that. I would assume that these 24/25-year-old Swedes that the Leafs are looking at, as well as any other free agents that they may be looking at in Europe, would be competing for spots to try to make that bottom half of the bottom tier of their top six that much better than it currently is. I think that’s probably the focus for Mike Babcock, Lou Lamoriello and Brendan Shanahan. Travis Dermott might fit into that mix as well, but the more the merrier.
I’m assuming that they’re assuming that, if they sign somebody from Sweden, the likelihood is that they could come in and kind of do what Zaitsev did, although maybe not to the same degree. Zaitsev was a pretty heralded guy. I just think they want to get guys who are smart and can skate and can play the game and give them more depth in that position.