Canucks Underneath The Microscope: Linus Karlsson's sturdy transition season deserves NHL look

Rookie Swedish winger led all Abbotsford forwards in objectives and factors.

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We’re wanting again on the 2022-23 Vancouver Canucks with a spotlight right this moment on Linus Karlsson. Within the coming weeks, we are going to break down the season and try how participant conditions undertaking going into 2023-24.

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Linus Karlsson

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Age: 23

Place: Proper wing

Profession stats: (AHL) GP: 72; G: 24; A: 25; Pts: 49; (SHL, 2021-22): GP: 52; G: 26; A: 20; Pts: 46

Contract standing: One 12 months remaining on two-year, two-way, $1.850-million US entry-level deal signed Might 26, 2022. Annual wage cap hit of $925,000. Waivers exempt.

Expiry standing: Restricted free agent. Yet one more professional season to earn arbitration rights.

Endurance, poise and manufacturing might pay huge dividends for Linus Karlsson.

The Vancouver Canucks’ prospect proper winger turned what was speculated to be a tough rookie transition from Sweden to the AHL right into a tour of drive. He not solely led Abbotsford forwards in scoring with 24 objectives and 49 factors, he improved features of his recreation that scream NHL potential.

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Particularly after being named rookie of the 12 months within the Swedish Hockey League and breaking Elias Pettersson’s first-year mark with 26 objectives in 52 video games — together with seven in his first 12 video games with Skelleftea.

I’m not shocked,” he informed Postmedia. “I do know I’ve acquired it in me. It was enjoyable. I’ve performed towards males for a very long time, so it was not new for me.

It’s an excellent ongoing story that had an ungainly starting.

When Jonathan Dahlen wished out of Vancouver, it was Karlsson who couldn’t wait to get in. It offered ample fodder for hypothesis about what went mistaken with Dahlen, a 2016 second-round draft decide, and what Karlsson’s potential might ultimately be. He was drafted by the San Jose Sharks in third spherical of the 2018 draft.

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A commerce request by Dahlen’s agent shipped the centre to San Jose in 2019 in that return for Karlsson, and created a buzz of the participant’s insistence that he didn’t need out, regardless of by no means taking part in an NHL regular-season recreation for the Canucks.

On the time, administration referred to as it a “lateral transfer.”

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Calgary Wranglers goalie Dustin Wolf denies Abbotsford Canucks winger Linus Karlsson in an April 26 playoff encounter. Photograph by Darren Makowichuk /Postmedia

Dahlen, 25, would rating simply 12 objectives in 61 video games for the Sharks in 2021-22 and returned to the SHL this season with Timra IK and managed 20 objectives.

For Karlsson, the problem to reward the Canucks’ commerce religion is clear. And it’s not a stretch to counsel that he has no less than 20-goal potential when he arrives within the NHL.

In any case, he went from wanting like he was stick-handling in a telephone sales space in the course of the Younger Stars match opener at Penticton in September, to discovering time and house after only one interval.

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“He’s very artful with the puck,” Abbotsford head coach Jeremy Colliton informed Postmedia of his first impressions. “He finds a solution to give himself some house. He’s acquired a heavy stick and there was a shift the place he simply stored arising with the puck — stripping guys and creating three or 4 possibilities on his personal.

“And he’s making some performs, he’s not only a scorer, however there’s going to be an adjustment right here as the extent goes up.”

Karlsson confirmed some bravado when he vowed to push for a Canucks roster spot final fall and didn’t look misplaced in a apply line with Pettersson and Andrei Kuzmenko. He acquired a protracted preseason look in three pointless video games — his lack of an preliminary explosive stride was uncovered — earlier than shipped to Abbotsford for extra seasoning.

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Karlsson was anticipated to get a regular-season look with the Canucks this season, however March and April changed into audition season. They already knew what they’ve in Karlsson.

How 2022-23 went: Discovering his approach, discovering the online

When Abbotsford stumbled out of the beginning gate, it was Karlsson who gave them momentum.

He scored an additional time aim towards the Bakersfield Condors on Oct. 15 by monitoring a rebound that popped into the slot, pulling it away from a defenceman, and ending the sequence by stuffing residence his personal rebound within the 3-2 triumph.

It stated one thing in regards to the tenacity to hound pucks, maintain his floor and end to cap a five-shot outing. It additionally had quite a bit to do with Karlsson main the membership with eight power-play objectives.

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Power was speculated to be a excessive hurdle, however the 6-foot-2, 184 pound Karlsson confirmed that he might play in site visitors, win board battles, learn and anticipate performs, and nonetheless have the aptitude for scoring a aim between his legs.

“A particularly good and aggressive participant,” stated Abbotsford normal supervisor Ryan Johnson. “He kills penalties, performs on the facility play and is on the final minute of the sport — whether or not we’re up or down a aim.”

How the long run seems: Glut of wingers, ready recreation

Proper now, the suitable facet seems like a healed Ilya Mikheyev, Brock Boeser, Vasily Podkolzin, Phil Di Giuseppe and probably Nils Hoglander. The place does Karlsson slot in? If ongoing rumours of a Boeser or Garland commerce come to fruition, which will open roster door.

Biggest strengths: Gifted aim scorer, good positionally, performs laborious, can end possibilities.

Biggest weak spot: First few strides lack that explosive ingredient.

Is he commerce bait?: No, however wants lengthy NHL look to cement future price.

The large query: Can he develop right into a dependable, productive NHL winger?

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