Toronto Maple Leafs Sign Swedish Defencemen Calle Rosen and Andreas Borgman
Rosen has played his entire career in his home country of Sweden. After parts three years in Frolunda’s system, Rosen made the jump to the professional game in 2012-13 when he joined Karlskrona HK on loan. After a successful season rookie campaign, the Vaxjo Lakers, Rosen’s hometown team, acquired his rights. He spent most the 2014-15 year on loan in the Allsvenskan with Rogle BK, where he tallied 23 points in 42 games from the backend.
At 21, Rosen was ready for full-time duty in the SHL. He recorded 14 points in 52 games with Vaxjo, good for eighth in U24 scoring from the blueline. This year, in an expanded role, Rosen scored 19 points in 11 fewer games. He jumped to second in U24 point scoring for defencemen, only trailing Skelleftea’s Sebastian Aho (the Swedish one not the Carolina Hurricane).
The Scouting Report
A left-handed shot, Rosen is a diminutive defender, listed at 6’0″ and 176 pounds. Rosen’s lack of size has not stopped him from emerging as a premier blueliner in Sweden.
Although he is a lefty, Rosen was paired with a fellow left-hand shooter. He played most of the season on the right side, an area of weakness for the Maple Leafs.
Rosen has been described as a “Corsi darling” in Sweden. He plays a strong two-way game and has good puck handling skills, resulting in plenty of possession. He doesn’t have mind blowing point totals, but his +19 rating in 2016-17 is proof he can help at both ends of the ice.
An area of concern is Rosen’s injury history. He has suffered multiple concussions in his career, which has hampered his ability to stay on the ice. Injuries kept him to 41 games this past season and a career high of just 52.
Borgman spent most of his career in the Timra IK junior system, making the jump to the Allsvenskan in 2014-15 at 19. Borgman left to join VIK Vasteras HK, also of the Allsvenskan, in 2015-16. There he recorded 16 points in 52 games.
Borgman impressed as a 20-year old and was signed by HV71. He played 45 games for the SHL champions, where he scored 15 points. Impressively, Borgman was a +23, the highest rating for a U24 player in Sweden.
In the playoffs, Borgman found another level offensively. In 14 games, he tallied 10 points en route to the championship.
The Scouting Report
Borgman is also a left-hand shooting defenceman. Listed at 6’0″, 205 pounds, the Stockholm native has more size to his game than Rosen.
Young, at just 21, Borgman is a strong skater with an offensive mindset. He has recorded points at every level he has played at, from 23 in 33 with Timra IK J20 to his 10 point performance in the SHL postseason.
The Swede also plays a good physical game. Unlike some young players, Borgman has a solid frame and knows how to use it. The defenceman wracked up 89 PIM in 98 games in the Allsvenskan. Still playing a hard game, Borgman was able to cut those numbers to just 26 PIM in 45 games in his rookie SHL season.
Borgman made the transition to the top division in Sweden quickly, winning the SHL Rookie of the Year award. He will have to make another tough transition next year, coming over to North America.
Rosen and Borgman will likely need time to marinate in the American Hockey League with the Toronto Marlies. The Leafs are thin on defence, making their addition to the organization even more valuable. Expect Rosen and Borgman to challenge for third pairing minutes if they can adapt to North America quickly.
Toronto is obviously not afraid of dipping into the European free agent pool. Since Brendan Shanahan took over following the 2013-14 season, the Leafs have signed Petri Kontiola, Nikita Soshnikov, Nikita Zaitsev, and Miro Aaltonen as unrestricted free agents out of Europe. Although Kontiola flopped, Zaitsev played top pairing minutes and was just signed to a seven-year extension and Soshnikov featured on the fourth line for much of the regular season.
Rosen and Borgman join Miro Aaltonen as free agent signings for Toronto this spring, setting up what looks to be a busy summer for Leafs management.