Welcome to the ninth day of our Top 25 Under 25 countdown here at The Cannon! Thanks to the more than 120 of you who participated in our reader poll. Throughout the month of August, we’ll reveal a new player each weekday based on your ranking.
#17 Gabriel Carlsson
17th out of 55 eligible players (767 points)
Highest placement: #5 (1 ballot)
Most common placement: #17 (15)
Birthdate: January 02, 1997
Birthplace: Orebro, Sweden
Weight: 192 lbs
Acquired: Drafted by Columbus in Round 1 of the 2015 draft (#29 overall)
Gabriel Carlsson split the 2017-18 season between the Cleveland Monsters and Columbus Blue Jackets.
In his 14 games with the Jackets, Carlsson managed to notch two assists. While the bulk of his games and points came in Cleveland. Over the course of 33 games with the Monsters, Carlsson racked up five points in the form of two goals and three assists.
When Carlsson suited up for his first Monsters game of the season on November 18th, fans were excited to see what he would bring to the table. Unfortunately, the Carlsson who showed up in Cleveland was not the same guy fans saw on television with the Blue Jackets. He wasn’t nearly as fast, aggressive, or skilled as we all thought he would be.
I often wondered if Carlsson didn’t trust the goalie tandem of Matiss Kivlenieks and Ivan Kulbakov. During the first half of his stint with the Monsters, Carlsson often got in their line of vision and would go for pucks the goalies could have easily stopped. There were multiple times Carlsson was found so deep in the crease you would have thought he was the goalie. Inadvertently sitting on your own goalie is not a good look either. Yes, Carlsson fell on top of his own goalie multiple times last season. One of those times allowed the opponent to score.
Like I said, Carlsson did not play well when Kivlenieks and Kulbakov were backstopping the Monsters. However, during his stints with the Jackets and when Jeff Zatkoff was the netminder for the Monsters, Carlsson was wonderful to have on the ice. Unless someone needed the help, the crease was off limits. Most of his time on the ice was spent breaking up plays and knocking opponents around. He also had some incredible breakaways which created enough momentum to power the Monsters for multiple shifts.
The Carlsson who played in front of Zatkoff, Korpisalo, and Bobrovsky is the Carlsson who needs to make an appearance for every game.
Hopefully, Carlsson spent the summer working on being a more consistent defenceman. He has what it takes to be a NHL blue liner. Carlsson just needs bring the same fire and spunk to every game no matter who is backstopping the team.
The battle for the final pairing in Columbus should be interesting. If Carlsson brings the best game of his life to training camp, you’ll see him crack the opening night roster. If not, he’ll be with the Monsters for a good bit of the season.
Look for him to crack the 10 point threshold during the 2018-19 season.