There are two things that will make you instantly appealing to the Leafs organization as a young player; work ethic, and mobility. So when you’re an undrafted prospect who works his way up the global radar off the back of relentless effort and world-class skating ability, you’re going to catch the eyes of those in charge on Bay Street.

Calle Rosen, naturally, was a high priority signing for the team this summer, and a welcome addition to the depth chart.

Age 23 (February 2, 1994) Birthplace Vaxjo, Sweden
Pos Defence (LH) Drafted Undrafted
Vitals 6’0, 176lbs Acquired Via Free Agency (2017)

In a way, it’s a little weird that Rosen was never drafted by an NHL team. Frolunda’s developmental program is world-class, and at the U18 and U20 levels, Rosen was a mainstay near the top of their point-production lists as far as defencemen go.

His big break came after his eligibility. After spinning tires a couple of loan stints with Karlskrona, Frolunda decided to let Rosen go to Vaxjo, who signed him to a two-year deal and loaned him to Rogle three weeks later. There, Rosen finished 10th in Allsvenskan in points-per-game by a defenceman, 5th among those that were under 24.

15  2009-10  Växjö Lakers HC J18  J18 Elit 21 2 2 4 2.5 20
16  2010-11  Frölunda HC J18  J18 Elit 19 6 5 11 7.6 2
16  Frölunda HC J18  J18 Allsvenskan 15 1 5 6 5.2 2
16  Frölunda HC J20  SuperElit 16 1 1 2 2.1 0
17  2011-12  Frölunda HC J18  J18 Elit 17 6 8 14 10.8 6 27
17  Frölunda HC J18  J18 Allsvenskan 13 4 10 14 14.1 4 22
17  Frölunda HC J20  SuperElit 24 1 4 5 3.4 4 8
18  2012-13  Frölunda HC J20  SuperElit 35 3 16 19 8.9 10 17
18  Karlskrona HK  Allsvenskan 12 1 2 3 9.4 0 -3
19  2013-14  Karlskrona HK  Allsvenskan 52 7 7 14 10.2 18 12
20  2014-15  Växjö Lakers HC  SHL 3 0 0 0 0 2 0
20  Rögle BK  Allsvenskan 42 10 13 23 20.7 8 -1
21  2015-16  Växjö Lakers HC  SHL 52 3 11 14 14.8 4 2
22  2016-17  Växjö Lakers HC  SHL 41 6 13 19 25.5 10 19

At that point, Vaxjo decided that he was SHL ready, and that decision paid off for them. Rosen looked like a seasoned veteran in his first year, and this season, became one of the more promising players in the league. Only Sebastian Aho (the Swedish Islanders prospect, not the Finn in Carolina) had more points or a higher points-per-game among U24 defencemen in the SHL last year, and if we expand to all ages, Rosen still was the 8th-most efficient point producing defencemen in the league.

Rosen spent much of his season playing with Philip Holm, a 25-year-old that some thought the Leafs were also in pursuit of, but went to the Vancouver Canucks.

pGPSn pGPSs Exp. Success % Exp. P/82 Exp. Value
33 (22/31) 7 (24/31) 17.5% (16/31) 26.4 (21/31) 4.6 (18/31)

The above numbers are products of the Prospect Graduation Probabilities System (pGPS), created by Canucks Army to project a prospect’s odds of becoming an NHL regular. For a run-down on what each of these stats mean, head back to the introduction.

There aren’t really many high-profile names to compare Rosen to on this chart; Kim Johnsson is the one who had the most substantial NHL career, and he was one of the least productive on this list. He was also one of the youngest, though, and to put up good offensive numbers while being on the younger side of your draft year is rarely a bad thing. That’s something Rosen has to his advantage; he scored well for a 22-year-old, despite having a February birthday.

It’s still not enough for pGPS to give him a high percentage of making it, though, which isn’t all that shocking given how few Swedish defencemen make their commitment to North America this late in their careers.

The obvious, obvious thing that jumps out at you when watching Rosen is his how strong of a skater he is. We’re not talking “good for a prospect”, or “good for an SHLer”; Rosen is an elite skater, period. He’s not afraid to jump up, he accelerates quickly, and his top-end speed is better than most regular NHLers.

Besides that, he’s got high levels of hockey sense and a booming shot. The latter was most recently felt by Senators prospect Colin White, who came to that realization after attempting to block one of his blasts, doing so but breaking his left wrist.

The Upcoming Year

Of all the defencemen that are on the bubble, it’s starting to look like Rosen is the most likely of the bunch to stick around with the Maple Leafs this season. His familiarity with high-level pro hockey, his world-class mobility, and the composure he’s shown in distributing and shooting the puck over the course of the preseason has done in him a ton of favours insofar as making the Top 7, to the point where the pecking order between him and Andreas Borgman has already flipped in the eyes of some.

Perhaps most valuable for Rosen, though, is his capability and comfort in playing his off-side. Since Toronto appears to be leaning towards 14 forwards and 7 defencemen this fall instead of last year’s 13 and 8, having a dual-side option like Rosen available to them should be what solidifies his spot on the team. Whether he plays every game is up for debate, but at the very least, he should be there.

Long-Term Outlook

I’m not sure exactly what Rosen’s ceiling is, and it’s probably not fair to attempt to guess it until we’ve seen a little bit more of him playing against serious competition and in tougher situations, particularly at his age. But his skating and versatility should, at the very least, make him a full-time NHL player for as long as he’d like to be.

To see the other profiles in this year’s series, please reference the full list.

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