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Young Guns: Oscar Dansk & Anton Forsberg

Oscar Dansk and Anton Forsberg are set to battle it out in Springfield this season.

Bruce Bennett

Much has been made of the goalie prospects in the Columbus system, and two of the young netminders will battle head-to-head in AHL Springfield this coming season.  Depth at the goaltender position has never been much of a luxury for the Blue Jackets, but a couple of Swedish kids are leading the charge in changing the depth at the position to a strength for the organization.

Oscar Dansk, selected 31st overall at the 2012 NHL Draft, has been viewed potentially as the franchise goalie of the future.  He recently signed his entry level deal with Columbus and will get a chance to showcase his talent with the Falcons this season after struggling down the stretch for Erie in the OHL last year.  Some question if these struggles were a byproduct of having a less than stellar defensive corps in front of him or are a sign of mental weakness.  He will get a fresh start in Springfield this year and will look to build on a sterling performance at last year's World Junior Championships where he was one of the top goalies at the tournament.

Age: 20
Position: Goalie
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 201 lbs.
Catches: Left
Born: Stockholm, Sweden

Dansk's main competition in Springfield will come in the form of another Blue Jackets draft pick in Anton Forsberg.  Also a Swede, Forsberg was drafted by Columbus a year prior to Dansk, going 188th overall (7th round) in the 2011 NHL Draft.  He is entering the second year of his entry level deal and came over to play in North America for the first time this past spring for the Falcons.  He has spent time the last few years playing for Modo of the SHL, but is looking to lock down a spot in North America and eventually make his way to the NHL.  Forsberg possesses a lot of raw talent, but is still working on some of the technical aspects of goaltending.

Age: 21
Position: Goalie
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 176 lbs.
Catches: Left
Born:
Härnösand, Sweden

These two Swedes, separated by a single draft, look to be intertwined for at least the next couple of seasons.  They will split time in Springfield this coming season, and the best bet is that the eventual "winner" of that competition will assume the backup role to Sergei Bobrovsky in Columbus.  With Curtis McElhinney still filling the backup role with the big club for an extremely reasonable price, the front office can wait to move one of the kids up until they are ready.  Forsberg has two years left on his ELC while Dansk has three years before becoming an RFA.

Dansk was a highly-touted prospect in 2012 before the draft.  He has a big frame and knows how to use it by cutting off angles well and moving laterally very quickly.  Scouting reports list him both a butterfly and a hybrid goalie and he has also been praised for his rebound control.  Areas to improve include his consistency, and recently the mental aspect of the game.  He had a rough go of it in Erie at times, especially in the playoffs.

Forsberg came into his draft at the opposite end of the spectrum, which is why he went in the 7th round, but has worked his way up through the ranks.  He is still "raw" and working on his technical skills as a goalie.  Many scouts believe he may be a couple seasons away before really polishing his technique and needs some positive development.  He plays an aggressive butterfly style, often challenging shooters by coming out to the top of his crease.  He performed well in limited action at the end of the season for Springfield last season.

Fans in Columbus will get a chance to see these two in camp in a couple weeks, but the plan for them is clearly to spend the season in Springfield.  Should the Jackets need a "third goalie" called up due to an injury to Bob or McElhinney, the best guess right now would be that Dansk gets the nod.  That could change quickly if Forsberg comes in and outperforms his fellow countryman.  Either way, it is time to get some of the prospects into the system, and this year represents just that for these two in planning to play full-time for Springfield.  It is time to see what the future may hold in net.