If nothing else, Gabriel Carlsson established himself as a full time NHL player. A full time player as in he is on a one-way contract and spends time practicing with the big club full time while on long stretches in the press box. The Blue Jackets’ second 2015 1st round pick has not yet been able to carve out a permanent spot in the defensive corps. He was stuck in a revolving door this year with Gavin Bayreuther and Dean Kukan, all rotating in and out of the bottom pairing.
It’s kind of hard to write and have a real strong opinion about the player one way or the other. I suppose that isn’t the worst thing for a bottom pairing defenseman, considering if he was truly awful there would be some strong opinions about him. (see Scott Harrington)
If you take out the understandable disappointment of him not living up to his draft position, he can actually be a useful piece of the team moving forward.
Games Played: 38
5v5 CF%: 45.4%
5v5 FF%: 44.5%
Contract Status: Like many others within the organization, Carlsson is headed into the offseason as a restricted free agent. His most recent deal ended this year, and the Blue Jackets will at the very least qualify Carlsson as he’s a cheap option to fill out the bottom pairing if needed. I can’t see the Jackets committing long-term to Carlsson as he’s never lived up to his draft position as a first rounder.
I could see a slight raise for Gabe, with a 1-2 year deal worth about $900k - $1M AAV.
High Point: Not long after finally cracking the lineup, Carlsson helped the Blue Jackets with their improbable home-and-home sweep of the Colorado Avalanche. He posted a pair of points in the two games, including a beauty of a snipe to open the scoring in the second game.
Low Point: Carlsson went into COVID protocol right around the start of the initial outbreak around Christmas that caused the league postpone a bunch of games. When he was activated, he once again found it tough to get back into the lineup. In the span of almost a month, he saw playing time just once, with Brad Larsen choosing to deploy Dean Kukan and Gavin Bayreuther over him
Report Card: B-
I honestly don’t know if that is being generous or I just had no expectations whatsoever for the player. He wasn’t horrible when he played, was a +6 on the year (tops on the team) and put up career high in points. The Jackets can (and have) done a lot worse when it comes to a 7th defenseman.
How would you grade Gabriel Carlsson’s 2021-22 season?
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