The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed defenseman Calle Rosen to a two-year, one-way $750,000 AAV contract extension, the club announced on Monday.
On his new deal starting in 2019-20, Rosen can be sent down to the Marlies without any cap ramifications for the Leafs as his one-way salary is below the $1,050,000 threshold, but as a 25-year-old (as of February) who will be two years removed from his first NHL contract, he would be waiver eligible on his new deal starting next Fall.
With the one-way deal, Rosen will get a considerable pay raise to stay with the organization after making less than he could’ve earned in Sweden on a two-way entry-level base salary worth $70,000 (plus a $92,000 signing bonus) during 2017-18 and for the remainder of 2018-19.
Rosen appeared to be forcing his way into the conversation for the opening night spot on the left-side of the Leafs‘ bottom pairing near the end of 2018 preseason, but a forgettable performance on a pairing with Igor Ozhiganov vs. Montreal — and the likelihood it was Travis Dermott’s spot to lose in the first place — meant he started the season on the Marlies, where he’s played all but four games (the number of appearances he made with the Leafs during October of 2017) since signing as a free agent out of Sweden two offseasons ago.
Rosen has remained committed to being a part of the organization in Toronto even despite a lack of NHL time over the past two seasons. His girlfriend has moved overseas with him and the two have settled in and made the city home; he’s also surrounded by a strong Swedish contingent within the organization that includes Andreas Borgman, Rasmus Sandin, Timothy Liljegren, Pierre Engvall and Dmytro Timashov on the Marlies as well as Andreas Johnsson (former Marlie teammate), William Nylander, and Par Lindholm at the NHL level.
An undersized but mobile and skilled puck-mover with a cannon of a slap shot, Rosen was a big piece of the Marlies‘ Calder Cup win last Spring — arguably their best defenseman — while tallying five goals and 11 points in 16 games, including a two-goal game in Game 5 of the Calder Cup Final vs. Texas. He’s off to a hot start to the 2018-19 season with 15 points — including five goals — in 22 games.
Forecasting the Leafs’ left side of the blue line in future years, Morgan Rielly is locked in long term and Travis Dermott is a significant piece of the future, but pending UFA Jake Gardiner’s whereabouts beyond the end of the season is very much up in the air. Keeping Rosen around as cheap left-defense depth, while serving as a big piece of the Marlies blue line in the meantime, is a tidy bit of business by Leafs brass.
Calle Rosen's two-year extension with the #leafs is a one-way contract. AAV of $750,000. He's in their plans as a NHL option.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) December 10, 2018
Calle Rosen’s progress with the Marlies
by Mark Rackham
Calle Rosen signing a two-year extension is the culmination of a year and a half of hard work from the player and the Toronto Marlies coaching staff.
Rosen’s first go-around in the NHL lasted just four games in 2017-18, as he was quickly reassigned to the Marlies. It wasn’t an easy transition for the Swedish defenseman, who took a fair chunk of time to adapt to the American League.
A work in progress throughout the year, Rosen finished the playoffs playing some of his best hockey — predominantly on the second pairing alongside Vincent LoVerde — as Toronto clinched a Calder Cup championship.
After struggling for offense during the regular season, Rosen took off during post-season play, recording 11 points in 16 games, including a pair of goals in the Game 5 victory over Texas.
Fast forward to 2018-19, Rosen has been promoted to the top pairing, forming a partnership with Timothy Liljegren before the latter’s recent injury. The 24-year-old has certainly been the Marlies’ most dependable and consistent performer on a defense that has generally struggled so far during the first third of the campaign.
Noted for his mobility and puck-moving ability when first signed by the organization, those remain his two main assets — and both have improved during his time in Toronto.
Most recently against Laval this past weekend, Rosen skated nonchalantly past an opponent on the left wing before delivering a perfect cross-ice pass for Jeremy Bracco to finish off.
Rosen’s ability to move the puck has seen him rack up points this year; he’s ranked sixth among all AHL defensemen with 19 points (2-17-19) in 24 games. The statistics have not been padded on the power play, either, with 13 points accrued at even strength, six of which are primary markers (1-5-6).
His points total would look even more impressive if he wasn’t shooting just 3% at the time of writing. Not afraid to let fly this season, he is tied for the team lead in that department with 66 recorded shots. Rosen is more selective with his attempts than that number may suggest, and certainly the Leafs could benefit from his ability to get shots through smartly and effectively.
Health was initially a concern after he suffered several injuries including a concussion while in Sweden, but barring an injury in the playoffs that kept him out for four games, Rosen has been a reliable presence game in and game out for the Marlies.