When the Maple Leafs acquired young Swedish defenseman Calle Rosen, a lot of speculation began. It is hard to evaluate Rosen against his competition among these rankings. Without seeing him play among others in the ranks of the Leafs’ long defensive depth chart, it is difficult to know where a player like him stacks up.
I personally had a very hard time figuring out where he (and Borgman) should fit in relative to the rest of the pool. Their age and resume puts him in consideration for a roster spot. However, at 23 years of age, the upside is very limited.
My ranking methodology has always been a kind of subjectively projected impact. The tools we have available for quantitative projection are far from perfect. The sample sizes they work from are very small, and the results can be very imprecise.
Hayley Hendren: 11
Ryan Hobart, Dylan Fremlin: 12
Adam Laskaris, Megan Kim, Scott Maxwell, Brayden Engel, Shawn Reis: 13
Evan Presement: 14
Ryan Fancey: 15
Jon Steitzer, Bobby Cappuccino: 18
Calle Rosén is a left-handed defenseman who spent the last 3 years playing in the ranks of Vaxjo HC in Sweden. He stands 6 feet tall and fills out at 174 lbs. As mentioned above, he is 23 years old and will turn 24 partway through the 2017-18 season.
He was passed over in the draft all three times he was eligible, understandably so given that he was playing a minor role for an Allsvenskan team.
“Smooth-skating” is the first word scouts will use to describe Rosén. He moves up and down the ice with grace, and usually is bringing the puck with him. In terms of style, I would compare him to Torey Krug – however it’d be a stretch his offensive capabilities could translate like Krug’s have. He plays a trigger-man role for Vaxjo’s powerplay, similar to Krug for Boston.
He has an excellent shot, but the opportunities to take it at the NHL level will be much further in between than they were in Sweden. It will be important for Rosén to take measured risks in using his puck carrying skills to enhance the offensive rush. Recklessness is not part of his game, but trying too hard to impress is something many getting their first opportunities in the NHL can fall victim to.
Let’s start with his point stats from Eliteprospects.com:
What draws my attention is the significant improvement from last season to this one. Increasing his points-per-game by almost double from 2015-16 to 2016-17 is unquestionably what finally brought attention to him.
Regarding projection metrics mentioned earlier in the post, the NHLe model fashioned by our own Ian Tulloch (using a method developed by Kent Wilson), Rosén’s 19 points in 41 games this past season would translate to approximately 25 points in an 82-game NHL season.
As Seen on TV
Here are a couple highlight packs to get a sense of what Rosén plays like:
What does the future hold for Rosén? It’s very difficult to tell.
He’ll definitely be coming to North America, and more than likely ending up with the Marlies to start. All will come down to a battle royale in training camp between the multitude of left handed defense options. Of course, with Hainsey and Rielly likely paired that removes one. But Gardiner, Marincin, Dermott, Borgman, even Valiev may make some noise, with only two of those holding regular jobs, and maybe one more as the 7th defenseman on the roster.
No question his NHL impact this year will be limited, if he makes it there at all. As a bottom pairing defenseman, probably rotating through with his counterparts, there’s not a lot to hype. But one can still hope. With Marincin’s contract expiring, Valiev probably leaving as well, some clarity will be found. Rosén could very well be the one who finds himself with the job.
In hindsight, given Rosen’s age, I think I was a little high on him in my rankings. Translating to North America at this age doesn’t really bode well for him.
However, I still believe he’s a real candidate on his own merits to take on a bottom pairing role. Training camp will be a fun outlook on how the coaching staff is looking at the competition. I’ll especially be looking forward to Rosén’s first strides in a Leaf uniform when he dresses for pre-season.