With the Chicago Blackhawks now fully in the middle of an offseason shakeup, the club may be close to signing Swedish defensive standout, Calle Rosen, to help them bolster the blue line.
Rosen is also being eyed by the Toronto Maple Leafs; both clubs must offer him a two-year entry level deal. That means the 6-foot, 180 pound Rosen, 23, would be eligible to split time between then the NHL and the AHL.
He is currently skating with the Vaxjo Lakers in the Swedish Hockey League. Rosen has nine goals and 24 assists in two seasons with the Lakers. From 2013-15 he played in the country’s second division. Scouts say Rosen is an offensive D-man with a left-handed shot who likes to jump up into the rush.
Like a number of defensemen who’ve come into the Blackhawk’s organization over the years, Callen may need polishing before making the jump to the NHL. But, after Chicago’s early exit from the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, General Manager Stan Bowman may be looking for someone who will take the summer to condition and make the big club right off training camp.
“He’s tall and thin and needs to improve his defense and get stronger,” his former coach Klas Ostman told The Athletic.
Fellow Swede Erik Gustafsson played 41 games with the Hawks during in 2015-16, but skated this season with the AHL Rockford IceHogs. Gustafsson is a restricted free agent and could be shipped elsewhere, giving Callen a chance to find a spot alongside Chicago’s core blueliners.
Gustav Forsling, also among the organization’s 10 Swedish defensemen, played 30 games with Chicago this season and could also get a shot. He and Gustafsson were recalled by Chicago after the AHL season but saw no action as the Blackhawks were sent packing by Nashville.
The news about Calle Rosen comes days after the Blackhawks fired assistant coach Mike Kitchen, who worked with defensemen and the penalty kill and helped Chicago win the Stanley Cup in 2013 and 2015. He spent a total of seven seasons with the Hawks.
The Blackhawks also relieved Rockford coach Ted Dent of his duties this week, ending his 10-year run with the organization. The firing came as a surprise, as Dent signed a three-year contract extension last year and was preparing to work with a new crop of young players coming up. But with Rockford’s 25-39-9-3 finish, the writing may have been on the wall that a change was imminent at the American league level.
“I have been very fortunate to be with the IceHogs for the past 10 years and head coach for the past six seasons. My family has grown up here and it’s been nothing but a great experience raising my family in Rockford,” Dent said in a statement. “I’m going to miss all the relationships I have formed with the people I have worked with and all of the great people in this community as well. I take away knowing I did my very best for this city and organization and helped develop over 80 players to the NHL during my time here. It’s time for a new challenge in my life and I’m eager for the next opportunity wherever that may be. Thank you to the Blackhawks, the IceHogs, the media and to all of the people in the Rockford and surrounding area that have become part of our family over the past 10 years.”
Players’ moves could be also looming as the club looks for bigger forwards to complement what John Hayden (6-2, 223) added down the regular-season stretch. That make things interesting for the likes of Vinnie Hinostroza (5-9, 173), who was also in action in Rockford this season. Hinostroza does make up for lack of stature with lightning speed, but Chicago could move on like it did when they dealt Teuvo Teravainen to the Hurricanes.
[Featured Image by Tim Boyle/Getty Images]