Signed back in the spring with fellow Swedish defenceman Andreas Borgman, Calle Rosen is a sneaky name at Toronto Maple Leafs training camp who could make a push for an NHL job. After breaking out in 2016-17 with Vaxjo as one of the premier defencemen in the Swedish Hockey League, Rosen is looking to carry his success overseas and into the NHL.
Toronto Maple Leafs Roster Preview, 50-in-50: Calle Rosen
After going undrafted once again in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Calle Rosen set his sights on the SHL. After two seasons with Karlskrona HK of the Allsvenskan, Rosen signed with his hometown team, the Vaxjo Lakers. He played just three games in the SHL in 2014-15, before being loaned back to the Allsvenskan to play with Rogle BK.
The following year, however, Rosen broke through into the SHL with Vaxjo, at 21 years of age. Spending the entire year in the top flight, Calle Rosen scored an impressive 14 points as a rookie, among the top 10 in U24 scorers from the blueline league-wide.
Then, in 2016-17, Rosen broke out as a premier defender in the league. Paired with Philip Holm, who signed with the Vancouver Canucks this summer, Rosen helped to form one of the best pairings in the SHL. Limited to 41 games due to injury, he still managed to score six goals and 19 points. Those totals placed him second in the entire SHL in U24 defensive scoring, only behind Skelleftea AIK defender and recent New York Islanders draft pick, Sebastian Aho.
After the end of the Maple Leafs’ season, multiple European defenders were rumoured to be signing in Toronto. Rosen, Holm, Borgman, and even Swiss defender Romain Loeffel were all names linked to the Leafs at some point over the World Championships.
In the end, the Leafs signed Rosen and Borgman, while Rosen’s partner, Philip Holm, signed in Vancouver. Romain Loeffel remained in Switzerland with Geneve-Servette, even after a 36 point campaign.
Profile (via EliteProspects)
Weight: 176 lbs
NHL Draft: Undrafted, Signed on May 16, 2017, by Toronto
Contract (via CapFriendly)
As a sought-after European free agent, the Maple Leafs needed to lure Calle Rosen to Toronto, even if there was mutual interest. As a 23-year-old undrafted free agent, Rosen had to sign a two-year entry-level deal.
The Leafs gave Rosen a $92,500 signing bonus with a $832,500 base salary, which equates to a total salary and cap hit of $925,000, the maximum for entry-level players. In addition to this, he was given Schedule A bonuses, which could raise his potential earnings in the NHL up to $1.775 million.
Rosen’s bonus situation could become concerning for the Maple Leafs. They were already in bonus hell last year, with a $5 million cap overage thanks to the incredible play of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander, among others.
With a majority of the players who earned Schedule A and even Schedule B bonuses in 2016-17 still on their entry level contracts, adding another $850,000 in potential bonuses may cause some concern for the Leafs.
Calle Rosen will be battling with Andreas Borgman, Travis Dermott, and Martin Marincin for the open left side, third pairing job. Marincin‘s NHL experience would make him seem to be the favourite, however, the Leafs could very easily keep the Slovakian as a seventh defenceman and play one of Rosen, Borgman, or Dermott in the open slot in the lineup.
At 23, Rosen is older and has more experience in professional hockey than Dermott and Borgman. Both Borgman and Dermott made their professional debuts a year ago, for HV71 and the Toronto Marlies, respectively. If Rosen has a good training camp, do not be surprised to see him in the lineup on opening night versus the Winnipeg Jets.
This is where things get interesting. As Rosen and Borgman both have performance bonuses that could put the Leafs into even more overages next year, the contract situation of Travis Dermott could give him the upper hand. Signed right after the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Travis Dermott was not given any performance bonuses. Even if Dermott were to have a stellar year in the NHL, the Leafs wouldn’t have to worry about going further into overages.
Of course, Rosen and Borgman may need time to transition to the North American game in the AHL. Both have never played an extended period in North America. For every Nikita Zaitsev who just walks into an NHL lineup, there is a Petri Kontiola, whose game doesn’t translate to the North American game regardless of how well they play overseas.
Calle Rosen is still an intriguing name to watch in training camp. He has experience playing defence on both sides over in Sweden, which could be very valuable with the Leafs lack of depth on the right side. If Calle Rosen impresses in camp, do not be shocked to see the #48 with the nameplate “Rosen” on the ice on October 4.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images