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Is Carl Grundström on the fast track to the Leafs?

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The gritty forward could be heading to Toronto a lot faster than Andreas Johnsson did.

Sweden v Russia - Bronze Medal Game - 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Carl Grundström is only 19, and with a December birthday, he won’t turn 20 until next season. And while he was drafted by the Leafs 57th overall last summer, he doesn’t yet have a contract.

His name came up on TSN’s Insider Trading where the question was posed: Could he become a Leaf sooner rather than later?

Darren Dreger said preliminary talks are underway, not just on getting him signed to his ELC, but on having him come to Toronto as early as next season. He could play for the Leafs or as Dreger puts it, “Worst case, for the Marlies.”

Not all Marlies fans think it is the worst case for developing talent. It worked for that William Nylander fellow, after all.

Dreger emphasized that the talks are preliminary and that Grundström himself gets to decide if he should stay in Sweden next year.

Andreas Johnsson by contrast, was drafted in 2013, albeit in the seventh round, and only just made his debut in Toronto on the Marlies late last year after his SHL season was over.

As far as this season goes, Grundström has playoffs to look forward to, and the Leafs aren’t exactly flush with SPC room, so don’t expect this to get accelerated anymore than it already seems like it might be.

My best guess has always been that Grundström would stay on Frölunda through next season as well. The decision will hinge not only on how he performs in the pressure of the playoffs, but how the other left-wing prospects perform for the rest of the season on the Marlies. It may hinge on what trades the Leafs end up making as well.

We should expect to see him in Canada this summer for the various rookie camps and perhaps the Leafs training camp as well.