Vancouver Canucks of Tomorrow: Linus Karlsson
Canucks of Tomorrow is assessing every prospect in the Vancouver Canucks system and what they are projecting to be in the future. We’ll be looking at the strengths and weaknesses of their game, as well as what the future holds for them if and when they advance through the Vancouver organization. Today, we feature Linus Karlsson.
How Acquired: Traded from San Jose Sharks on February 25th, 2019 for lefty centre Jonathan Dahlen.
2021-22 Stats: (GP-G-A-P) 52-26-20-46 (with SHL Skellefteå)
Contract Status: Two seasons on a two-way NHL/AHL deal.
Anticipated 2022-23 Team: Abbotsford Canucks or SHL
VHN touched briefly on Karlsson’s performance at the Vancouver Canucks Development Camp last week, but given his prominence and potential we figured we’d start with him.
The 22-year-old right-shot centre won rookie-of-the-year honours last season in the Swedish Hockey League and finished ninth in the SHL in overall scoring. Twenty-six of his 46 points were goals, coming in 52 games played with Skellefteå AIK.
In the postseason he made less of an impact with the higher stakes playing against veteran men. He notched one assist in six games and finished minus-6 in Skellefteå’s opening round loss to Färjestad BK. The 6th seed upset the SHL’s 3rd seed in the series.
Detroit Red Wings second year winger Lucas Raymond appears to be the Swede-du-jour for comparisons. Vancouver Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin referred to his 2022 1st-round NHL Draft pick Jonathan Lekkerimaki as “a lighter version of Lucas Raymond” which is the exact terminology Elite Prospects used at one point to describe Karlsson.
The bonus; Karlsson plays centre and has a head start on playing a more complete 200-foot game. He was also described by the prospect site as having “good size and goal scoring ability, fine hands and overall offensive skills. Very good hockey sense and great character.”
Scouts love his compete level below the dots. Vancouver Canucks player development coach Mikael Samuelsson told us last week, “I like his game, he’s not the fastest guy out there but I’ve liked him for three or four years, he’s strong on the puck, he’s smart, he’s shifty, and he stays in the play.”
After Swedish juniors, Karlsson spent three years in the HockeyAllsvenskan, the 2nd-tier of pro hockey there, which is exactly where Lekkerimaki will train and play next season.
Karlsson was among the trio of Swedes signed by Allvin between May 26th and June 13th, joining forward Nils Aman and defenceman Filip Johansson. Vancouver Canucks fans should expect a Nordic touch to the recruiting efforts and roster make-up moving forward. Allvin scouted his home country and region at a very high level for many years.
Allvin would have seen Karlsson representing his country with solid performances at both the junior and senior world championship levels.
Karlsson will bring his 6-foot, 180-pound frame to camp looking to make an impact with the big club as a right-shot centre, something the Canucks lacked last season. He’ll likely play in Abbotsford, but it’ll be fun to see how things shake out when opportunities are given down the middle for whatever reason with Vancouver. He has plenty of work to do.