The Maple Leafs made official the long-rumoured signing of Calle Rosen on Tuesday while announcing the acquisition of a second Swedish defenceman in 21-year-old Andreas Borgman.
— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) May 16, 2017
Borgman won the SHL’s rookie of the year award this season after posting five goals, 15 points and a plus-23 rating in 45 games. He took a big step forward in the playoffs, adding two goals and eight assists in 14 playoff games as HV71 captured the league championship.
A history of SHL Rookie of the Year award winners (like new Leaf Andreas Borgman)
Defencemen highlighted: pic.twitter.com/cYUP2avX0J
— Maple Leafs Hotstove (@LeafsNews) May 17, 2017
The 6’0 and 205-pound Stockholm native finished second in the SHL in plus-minus among defencemen in the regular season, while his 0.71 points per game led all SHL defencemen in the postseason.
For more information on Calle Rosen, here’s more from the initial report as well as scouting reports from Bob McKenzie and Uffe Bodin. We know Mike Babcock looks for mobile puck movers with hockey sense in his defencemen and both players have been described as checking those three boxes.
With the addition of two free wallets, the Leafs have quickly gotten down to work shoring up a clear organizational need by adding to a defensive group that showed its lack of quality depth at times this season, particularly when injuries struck with Nikita Zaitsev and Roman Polak in the playoffs.
Both players are left-handed shots who are expected to compete for spots on the big club at camp next Fall. The Leafs’ bottom three on defence is pretty much wide open at this point; bottom-pair mainstays Roman Polak and Matt Hunwick are both pending UFAs, Martin Marincin was a healthy scratch for half of the season, and Connor Carrick saw his role diminish as the season and playoffs wore on.
On the surface, Rosen would appear to be more NHL ready given he is 16 months Borgman’s senior, although Borgman produced comparable SHL numbers to Rosen as a rookie. It’s also worth noting that Rosen played the right side of the ice for much of the season with Vaxjo HC.
The Leafs’ recruitment efforts in Europe have been led by Director of Player Evaluation Jim Paliafito, who was hired in the offseason of 2015. Throughout his first year on the job, Paliafito was credited with putting in the legwork to land Zaitsev amid a sizable crowd of NHL suitors. Neither Rosen or Borgman garnered quite the same level of interest as Zaitsev, but we know the Chicago Blackhawks were the other front-runner for Rosen while Borgman was said to have a number of NHL clubs interested in him dating back to January. One selling point with the Leafs for both these players, no doubt, is the opportunity to compete for an NHL roster spot on Toronto’s blue line as early as this September.
- Andreas Borgman: Scouting report, Video
- Report: Calle Rosén to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs after World Championships
- Bob McKenzie discusses Calle Rosen and the Leafs’ defensive depth
Rosen 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.
[Borgman] has pretty good credentials this year. He was the rookie of the year in the Swedish league. The book I got on him from talking to some other NHL teams who were interested in him is that the agent was maybe selling him as a guy who is going to be a top-four guy or is ready to be a top-four guy in the National Hockey League. Some of the other teams thought that he was maybe more a third-pairing guy.
Calle Rosén is a modern two-way defenseman, very mobile and great at transporting the puck. I remember talking to one of his junior coaches a few years back and he called him “Coffey” due to his mobility and puck moving skills. He was a pretty big talent early on, but he needed some seasoning on the lower levels to see his game mature. He has taken really big steps in his development these past two seasons and looks ready to compete for a spot in the NHL. One reason for concern has been his injuries this season. He has suffered a few concussions and that has hampered his game a bit. I think he’ll need some seasoning in the AHL to get used to the game on your side of the pond. If he can adapt to the North American game, he could be a good fit with the Leafs.
More on Borgman here.