A right-shot center?! Where do they sign up? On Thursday the Vancouver Canucks inked 22-year-old Swedish forward Linus Karlsson, his rights acquired from the San Jose Sharks on February 25th, 2019 for slightly older left-shot center Jonathan Dahlen.
It was the whopping sixth time Karlsson’s rights had changed hands. Five of those times it wasn’t actually him, it was his 87th-overall NHL Draft slot that was moved. Such is life for the embryo of a third-rounder.
The first time in 2015, the Toronto Maple Leafs traded the pick to the New Jersey Devils for the right to sign general manager Lou Lamoriello. Throw that one on your transaction resumé.
“NHL Player” is the ultimate thing Karlsson would like to see on his CV and it’s definitely within the realm of possibility.
He signed a two-year, entry-level deal for a little under $900,000 per season with $82K in potential performance bonuses.
Karlsson spent the last five years playing junior and then pro hockey in his native country, this past one in the top Swedish Hockey League (SHL) with Skelleftea. He racked up 26 goals and 46 points in 52 games played, finishing tied for 9th in league scoring and winning Rookie-of-the-Year honours. His goal total was tied for 2nd best in the SHL.
Scouts have been impressed with his decent size, 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, his skill, and his character. He works hard below the dots and has a heavy shot.
“We are excited to officially welcome Linus to Vancouver,” said Vancouver Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin in the team’s official announcement. “He is a good goal scorer who plays a solid two-way game, and he is coming off an impressive rookie season in Sweden. We look forward to seeing him develop his game in North America.”
If all of them are still around come October, Karlsson could add to the Vancouver Canucks growing Swedish contingent. He’ll get plenty of guidance from fellow pivot/winger Elias Pettersson, veteran D-man Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and maybe even from flighty forward Nils Höglander. Karlsson is probably ahead of the latter in terms of his overall sense for the game.
One should expect to see him at the Canucks Development/Prospects Camp beginning in Vancouver on July 10th.