The Toronto Maple Leafs have officially started their offseason. The management and scouting staff have been hard at work preparing for an important summer that will feature the movement of players in order to help shore up this young Leafs team.
Management will also need to prepare for a couple of momentous events that will reshape their team’s roster. The first is the Expansion Draft. The Vegas Golden Knights are the new team on the block and will need to fill out their roster. They must select one player from each team and it will be interesting to see which players each team decides to protect.
The second event is the NHL Entry Draft where the Leafs will be looking to land their next top prospect. Lou Lamoriello, Mark Hunter, and company will be kept very busy in the coming months.
Leafs Land Their Swede
In the NHL today, it pays to be a team on the rise who happens to have deep pockets. The Maple Leafs perfectly fit the bill and have used their assets in order to secure the services of Swedish defenseman, Calle Rosen.
It was being reported that both the Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks were bidding for the young Swede’s attention. There isn’t an official contract yet, as Rosen will most likely be playing for Sweden at the World Championships. Any contract with the Leafs won’t be finalized until the tournament wraps up in late May.
Report from Expressen that Swedish D Calle Rosen will sign with Toronto after the upcoming World Championships. https://t.co/caUS499awp
— Michael Augello (@MikeInBuffalo) April 28, 2017
Rosen is a left-handed defender who is listed at 6’0 and 176 pounds. He spent the year playing for the Vaxjo Lakers HC where he put up six goals and 19 points in 41 games. He’s a smooth-skating, modern defenseman who is comfortable making the first pass or defending against the opposition’s scoring chances.
He might need some seasoning in the AHL, but Rosen is a cheap and young option that could prove beneficial as early as next year. The Leafs focus this offseason will be on the defensive side of the puck and bringing in talent like Rosen will only serve to help the club.
Draft Lottery Luck
The NHL recently held their draft lottery and the majority of the first round was officially announced. Very unexpectedly, three teams not projected to pick anywhere near the top ended up winning. The New Jersey Devils will have the first overall selection, which will turn into either Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier.
Second overall belongs to the Philadephia Flyers, a team that already has some immense talent in the organization. The Dallas Stars hold the third overall pick and should use it to shore up their leaky blueline. New Jersey has the fifth best chance to win the lottery and the Stars had the eighth best odds. The Flyers were all the way down with the 13th best odds to move up.
Big loser(s) in NHL draft lottery: COL, VAN and LVK, who went from Nos. 1, 2 and 3 picks to Nos. 4, 5 and 6.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) April 30, 2017
It goes to show exactly how lucky the Maple Leafs were last year. They finished last and won the first overall pick which produced the record-breaking rookie known as Auston Matthews.
The Colorado Avalanche, the team that finished last this past year, experienced the worst case scenario and fell all the way down to fourth overall. They will still get an impressive player with the high pick, but losing the lottery is definitely a major disappointment.
Skilled Rookies Representing Their Country
For Mitch Marner and William Nylander, six games in the NHL playoffs simply wasn’t enough hockey. After getting knocked out in the first round by the Washington Capitals, the pair decided to represent their countries at the upcoming World Championships.
Marner will play for Canada and will join a stacked forward corps that includes the likes of Wayne Simmonds, Matt Duchene and Mark Scheifele. This should be a good learning experience for Marner, who had himself a fantastic first year in the NHL.
Nylander joins the Swedish team where his skating and offensive instincts make him a constant threat. He had an amazing first full NHL season. There are many talented NHL players on this roster and having Nylander on the squad is sure to make a strong Swedish team even more dangerous.
Nylander may also get a decent look at Rosen if the young defenseman does indeed make the final squad. The tournament kicks off May 5th and will take place in Paris, France and Cologne, Germany.