Canucks: Checking in on forward prospect Linus Karlsson

VANCOUVER, BC - APRIL 18: The Vancouver Canucks take to the ice prior to the start of their NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Rogers Arena on April 17, 2021 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - APRIL 18: The Vancouver Canucks take to the ice prior to the start of their NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Rogers Arena on April 17, 2021 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) /
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Karlsson began the 2019-20 season back with Karlskrona HK. He was able to improve upon his previous point totals, notching eight goals and 14 assists in 36 games, but mainly found himself in a bottom-six forward role. Fortunately for Karlsson, he was able to utilize one of his contract clauses, deciding to make the move to another Allsvenskan club, BIK Karlskoga.

This would end up paying big dividends for him.

Karlsson’s offence took a big jump with his new team right away. He was able to produce at over a point-per-pace game in his first 12 games, notching six goals and 12 assists. More importantly, Karlsson was proving that he belonged in a team’s top-six forward group.

Karlsson remained with BIK Karlskoga the following year, once again blowing past his point totals from the previous campaign. The Swedish forward registered 20 goals and 31 assists in 52 games, and was even able to crack the top-10 scoring list throughout the entire league at the end of the season. Dahlen finished atop that list, registering 71 points in 45 games.

However, Karlsson also proved that he could help his team when it mattered the most. He was second in playoff scoring for BIK Karlskoga that postseason, notching eight goals and seven assists in 11 games. Unfortunately, his team was eliminated in seven games during the semi-finals.

Scoresheet contributions aside, there’s a lot to like about Karlsson’s game. According to Elite Prospects, Karlsson is defensively reliable, can distribute the puck well, and has a very good overall hockey sense. Karlsson’s natural position is at centre, but he has become more comfortable playing on the wings, which would be a strong asset for both the Canucks and their AHL team in Abbotsford.

Karlsson won’t be the biggest player on either team, clocking in at 6’1″ and 180 pounds, but has definitely bulked up since being drafted as a 19-year-old, and has also shown that he can play physical in gritty board battles and 50/50 scrums. He will need to improve upon his overall speed if he wants to effectively contribute in today’s fast-paced NHL, but could still be an intriguing piece for the Canucks moving forward.

So, what’s the next step for Karlsson?