Current Team: Linköping, SHL
Date of Birth: October 8, 1996
Place of Birth: Örebro, Sweden
Weight: 183 lbs
There is a clear "top 3" among defensemen in this year's draft, all of whom we have covered previously - Hanifin, Provorov, and Werenski. After that, there is little consensus among draft experts and rankings as to who should come next among the crop of blueliners. The next defender picked after those three could very well be Gabriel Carlsson, a stay-at-home defender from Sweden. He has worked his way up the Linköping organization the last few years and has even represented Sweden on the international stage. He is a long, lanky defender with plenty of frame to add muscle. Central Scouting pegs him as the #2 European skater, but some mocks have him falling to the end of the first round.
"Carlsson is a tall, physically strong two-way defenseman who has improved a lot during the season. He plays a smart, cool, mature game and uses his size without being overly aggressive. A smart player who can both pass or play the puck out of danger." - Goran Stubb, NHL.com
Huge Swedish defender who has a heavy point shot, excellent compete level and a good grasp of reading the ensuing play. Is seldom rattled and battles hard in his end. Makes that transition first pass. His skating needs to continue improving so he can better maintain gap control. His backward mobility and forward acceleration need refinement. - Bill Placzek, Draftsite.com
The best part of Gabriel Carlsson’s game, is his play in his own end of the rink. He has excellent positioning, and his hockey IQ is very high. He anticpates plays well, cutting down passing lanes with a long stick, and creating transitions with a good first pass. Carlsson’s big body is an asset as he is willing to play a physical game, throwing hits, fighting for loose pucks, and clearing the front of the net.
...Offensively, what you see is what you get with Gabriel Carlsson. He doesn’t handle the puck much, preferring to move it quickly to a teammate rather than skate it up the ice. He does have good passing skills, and can make a good first pass on the breakout, or the long breakaway pass to a streaking teammate. He is very much a stay at home defender though, and is not likely to even join the rush as a trailer very often.
...Gabriel Carlsson has the frame and hockey IQ that will make him very attractive in the NHL draft. He has the potential to be a top four shutdown defender if he is able to reach his maximum ceiling. His game is reminiscent of Marc Staal of the New York Rangers, though this is a stylistic comparison only, and not one based on talent. - Ben Kerr, Last Word on Sports
A Good Fit in Columbus?
Probably not. The Jackets pipeline on the blue line is thin, but the prospects who are a couple years away are already the "stay at home" types. It wouldn't hurt to add a player like Carlsson, but Columbus has more pressing needs in the 1st round. Theoretically, the team could trade back if "their guy" is gone by #8 and pick up Carlsson later in the Draft. The rankings are all over on Carlsson, though, and he may still be available in the 2nd round. Either way, it's far more likely the Jackets target one of the "Top 3" defenders instead of Carlsson.
Carlsson in Action