According to reports, the Toronto Maple Leafs are working on a deal with Swedish winger Carl Grundstrom.
TSN’s Darren Dreger told Insider Trading Thursday that the Toronto Maple Leafs were in preliminary talks with Grundstrom and he could be in line to make the team as soon as next season.
A worst case scenario appeared to suggest that Grundstrom would at least make the team’s AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies.
The Leafs drafted Grundstrom in the second round of the 2016 NHL draft, 57th overall, and he has continued to play in his native Sweden since then. Grundstrom is having a strong season for Frolunda HC of the Swedish Hockey League, the top league in the country, where he has scored 12 goals and 15 points in 32 games played.
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The Swedish winger is still just 19 years old and is already a somewhat experienced player in the SHL, having totaled 105 regular season appearances since his debut with MODO in the 2014-15 season.
He also had a strong showing at the 2016 World Junior Championships where he scored three goals and finished with seven points in the seven games. Unfortunately, Sweden did not medal and finished in fourth place.
His performances in Sweden and at the World Juniors have earned him some high praise in North America.
"“Many compare him to, say, a Patric Hornqvist of the Pittsburgh Penguins, or for the throwbacks — the old group like us — maybe Claude Lemieux back in his day when he was ravaging the league with the Colorado Avalanche,” said Darren Dreger on Insider Trading on Thursday, 26th January."
The Leafs have a high number of pending unrestricted and restricted free agents this summer and will have a large amount of cap space available to continue to improve the team.
The addition of Grundstrom to either the Leafs or Marlies will work towards filling the void of many players likely to leave
The Leafs are in a strong position to make a run at the playoffs, but their eye is still on the future and the long-term success the team can have with strong development. The Shanaplan is still in progress, regardless of the team making the playoffs or not this season.
Signing Grundstrom to his ELC will be just one of many moves the team’s management will make going forward.
Are you happy to hear that Grundstrom could be playing in Toronto next season? Do you think he needs more time in Sweden before the move? Let us know in the comments below.