Blackhawks ‘among front-runners’ to sign Swedish free agent defenseman Calle Rosen, per report

The 23-year-old had six goals, 13 assists and averaged 18:44 of ice time in 41 games in the SHL this season.

The Chicago Blackhawks are ‘among the front-runners’ to sign undrafted free agent Swedish defenseman Calle Rosen, reports The Athletic’s David Alter and Scott Powers. The Toronto Maple Leafs are also in the front-runners pack for the 23-year-old’s services.

Rosen, a 6-foot and 180-pound blue liner, played from 2013-15 in Sweden’s second division before signing with the Vaxjo Lakers in the Swedish Hockey League. The left-handed shot has nine goals and 33 points in two seasons with the Lakers. He logged six goals, 13 assists and averaged 18:44 of ice time in 41 games this season.

Chicago would have to sign Rosen to a two-year, entry-level contract, according to the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement.

“He’s had great development the last two seasons,” Klas Ostman, who coached Rosen earlier in his career, told The Athletic. “He’s a good skater, likes to join the rush. He has a great shot. He’s an explosive player. He’s tall and thin and needs to improve his defense and get stronger. He’s also a great person.”

Rosen’s agent, Kurt Overhardt of KO Sports, told The Athletic his client his “close” to making a decision.

Chicago’s interest in Rosen is understandable given its lack of quality depth at the blue line and already having 10 Swedish defenseman in the organization. Gustav Forsling and Michal Kempny, who are both left-handed shots, each played in 35-plus games for Chicago. Forsling, a Swedish blue liner, enters the second season of his three-year, entry-level deal next fall while Kempny and the Hawks are reportedly in talks to sign an extension.