It’s getting difficult to ignore the noise coming out of Sweden as it pertains to St. Louis Blues forward Jacob De La Rose. When rumor first came out that his former SHL club Leksands IF was hoping to bring their homegrown product back overseas, it was largely dismissed. Now, the latest report indicates that a bidding war could be coming for De La Rose’s services, one that could convince him to leave the NHL behind.
Swedish news source Expressen reports that De La Rose has officially received a three-year contract offer from Farjestad BK, a perennial power house in Sweden. While Leksands finished higher that Farjestad in the regular season standings this year, both clubs exited in the quarterfinals. Farjestad has already gotten off to a hot start this off-season too, inking De La Rose’s fellow NHL forward Joakim Nygard to a long-term deal. If De La Rose believes that he can contend for an SHL title year in and year out, he may not be able to resist joining Farjestad. However, Leksands is not ready to lie down. Expressen adds that the club is prepared to offer a “significantly larger” contract in financial terms.
Is De La Rose ready to accept a deal from either Leksands or Farjestad though? Doing so could mean the end of his NHL career; at 26, if the bidding war results in both clubs offering increased term, De La Rose would have to be content with leaving North America behind. His usage in 2020-21 – just 13 games for the Blues – is certainly not what the veteran forward is looking for. However, De La Rose had played in at least 50 NHL games in each of the three prior seasons and has established himself as a useful bottom-six forward who occasionally flashes top-six talent. A restricted free agent this summer, De La Rose may be more inclined to leave for Sweden if the Blues retain his rights with a qualifying offer. Otherwise, he may give the NHL’s open market a long look before making a decision. Of course, if the bidding war in Sweden gets to a financial point where it doesn’t make sense to stay in North America, De La Rose could make his commitment sooner rather than later.