Toronto Maple Leafs: Breaking Down Carl Grundstrom’s Game

Jan 23, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; A general view of center ice as Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) takes the opening face-off against Calgary Flames center Sam Bennett (93) at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 23, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; A general view of center ice as Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) takes the opening face-off against Calgary Flames center Sam Bennett (93) at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Carl Grundstrom is expected to join the Toronto Marlies this postseason. Until he does, here’s a scouting report on the 19-year-old Swede.

While the Toronto Maple Leafs season unfortunately ended a few weeks ago, the future of the Leafs is still going strong as the Toronto Marlies open up a series with the Syracuse Crunch this weekend. Now they will also be doing so with the help of one of their top prospects after the Maple Leafs signed 2016 secondnd rounder, Carl Grundstrom, to an entry level contract.

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect from Grundstrom.

Carl Grundstrom: Frolunda (SHL) – Right Wing – 6’0″, 195 Pounds

2016-2017 Statistics: Frolunda (SHL)

72 Games Played – 19 Goals – 11 Assists – 30 Points – +2 –16 Penalty Minutes

2016-2017 Statistics: Team Sweden (U-20)

7 Games Played – 3 Goals – 4 Assists – 7 Points – +5 – 12 Penalty Minutes

Scouting Report:

Size: Grundstrom isn’t going to be confused with Milan Lucic or even James van Riemsdyk as a prototypical power forward, but what Grundstrom lacks in relative height, he more than makes up for it with his thickness. From what I have seen out of Grundstrom the past few years, he’s a bowling ball on the ice and hardly will you ever see him knocked on the ground due to his impressive lower body strength. Grundstrom looks like a perfect type of Mike Babcock player when you look at him and you can imagine Babcock just yelling “thickness” from the moment he lays his eyes on Grundstrom.

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Grade: 4 out of 5

Hands/Shot: For me, the best aspect of Grundstrom’s game is his shot. From every game I have watched him play the thing that stands out is that he likes shooting the puck, and I can understand why due to how heavy of a wrist shot he has for a young player.

Outside of his shot, there isn’t much with regards to Grundstrom’s stick handling ability. He’s not a guy who is capable of carrying the puck in and out of traffic and I wouldn’t expect him to ever be that player, although, to be fair to him, he is quite good in tight around the net with the puck and I’m sure he will only get better with time.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Skating: To be blunt, definitely not the strength of his game. He lacks foot speed and has to improve on using his edges. He’s more of a north-south type of skater where he is most effective when he is going forward and not dancing all around the zone like a William Nylander.

This is the aspect of his game that needs the most improvement, and lucky enough for him the Leafs have a highly regarded skating coach in Barb Underhill. I would expect for the Leafs to try to improve this part of his game the most when he starts training this offseason and next season.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

Competitiveness: One of the most exciting parts about watching Grundstrom play is how competitive of a player he is. There are plenty of people out there who don’t mind Zach Hyman playing with Auston Matthews because Hyman “gets him the puck” and “grinds out space in the offensive zone for other players.”

This is true, Hyman’s main job on that line is to go in the dirty areas to win puck battles for his vastly superior line mates, and to be fair to Hyman, he does a decent job at doing that. For Grundstrom, though, he essentially does the exact same thing as Hyman.

If you watched Sweden at the World Juniors, Grundstrom was largely responsible for elite offensive players such as Alex Nylander and Joel Eriksson-Ek getting the space they needed to be dangerous, I would look for him to continue to do that in the AHL, and eventually the NHL as well.

Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leafs /

Toronto Maple Leafs

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Hockey IQ: Above average. Watching Grundstrom, he kind of reminds me of a mix between Hyman and Komarov. He isn’t as smart as Komarov, but he is smarter than Hyman with regards to not just being a guy who hounds the puck carrier and throws it out in front whenever he wins a puck battle.

Grundstrom is a guy who is aware of his surroundings, and has a purpose when it comes to his game of grit and grinding. This isn’t an area you can improve on moving forward, but Grundstrom definitely has the smarts and abilities to play with more talented linemates.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Final Verdict: Whenever I listen to coach Babcock, it is quite obvious that he has a soft spot for his grinders. Guys like Hyman, Connor Brown, and Komarov are undoubtedly his favourite players because they all share the fact that they’re going to give you everything they have and then some. Grundstrom for me fits into that category, in that I think he has the attributes to be one of Babcock’s favorites down the road. He’s gritty, he’s tough, and he works his butt off.

Player Comparable: Leo Komarov

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I think Grundstrom has the potential to be a third line winger for the Leafs and play in a similar role to where Komarov currently plays with the Leafs. As a shutdown winger who has the ability to chip in 30-40 points, while also being able to move up and down the lineup with some highly skilled players, and maybe even on a power play one day. I think he is essentially a carbon copy of Uncle Leo and wouldn’t be surprised to see the Swede eventually replace Komarov down the road.