Dream almost a reality

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:25 AM ET

Jonas Frogren was Born To Run ... all the way to the Air Canada Centre.

Overwhelmed at the prospect of potentially soon wearing blue-and-white, the Swedish defenceman celebrated his seemingly imminent arrival to the Maple Leafs by attending a Bruce Springsteen concert in Gothenberg yesterday.

"To be a Toronto Maple Leaf would be a dream come true," Frogren told Sun Media via cell phone last night as he waited for The Boss to take the stage. "I'm only 27 but Borje Salming was one of my idols growing up."

While Maple Leafs general manager Cliff Fletcher said last night there were still "issues to be ironed out," Frogren indicated he was closing in on a deal with the Leafs.

Frogren confirmed a financial agreement had been reached with Farjestad, his Swedish elite league team, releasing him from his existing contract. Sweden sources said the agreement was worth at least $200,000 US.

"I have not talked with Toronto today. I'll probably do that Monday," Frogren said.

The Farjestad team web site said the potential deal with the Leafs will be for two years.

With just 46 points in 398 games in the Swedish elite league, Frogren is a physical shut-down defenceman who was impressive during the recent World Hockey Championship, going plus-seven while spending part of the tournament playing alongside Leaf blue liner Anton Stralman.

"Anton and I were together for a couple of games and it worked out good," Frogren said. "He likes to carry the puck while I am more of a defensive guy.

"I like to hit, so I look forward to playing on the smaller rinks in North America."

Frogren added he has also been a teammate of Leaf forward Alex Steen on the Swedish national team.

Frogren was on the Farjestad team that dropped a 3-0 exhibition decision to the Leafs in Stockholm back on Sept. 19, 2003. He admitted it was "cool" playing against Mats Sundin, a hockey hero in Sweden.

Off the ice, Frogren likes motorcycles and rides a Harley-Davidson.

"Maybe I'll get one in North America too," he said.

Whether coach Ron Wilson partners up Frogren and Stralman remains to be seen. The Leafs certainly are facing a log jam on the blue line with Frogren, Stralman, Tomas Kaberle, Pavel Kubina, Bryan McCabe, Jeff Finger, Staffan Kronwall, Carlo Colaiacovo, Ian White and, perhaps, prospect Luke Schenn, who might have a shot to make the parent club.

Kubina's no-trade clause is moot until Aug. 15, leaving the Leafs a six-week window to trade him.

As for McCabe, his agent, Ian Pulver, and the Leafs have agreed to no longer discuss his client's situation in public. McCabe has refused the team's request to waive his no-movement clause.

Meanwhile the Leafs yesterday signed forward Mikhail Grabovski to a one-year deal worth $850,000 US. Grabovski was acquired Thursday from the Montreal Canadiens for the rights to prospect Greg Pateryn and a pair of draft picks.

The Leafs will hold their four-day prospect camp beginning Monday at Lakeshore Lions Arena, with Schenn expected to be front and centre.


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