Erik Karlsson was drafted in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Ottawa Senators, No.1 pick, 15th overall, and here's a look at this young talented Swede.
Although being just 18 years of age, offensively skilled defenceman Erik Karlsson has been moving around quite a bit the last three seasons.
At age 15-16 he played for his home team Troja-Ljungby before moving to the bigger club Södertälje and their junior academy for the 06/07 season. He did not enjoy his stay there, and half-way through the season he left the team.
Karlsson wanted to play for another team, but his old team did not allow this. A pretty big part of that season was therefore wasted, before Karlsson joined Frölunda’s organization for the 07/08 campaign.
He immediately showed his skills and finished the season scoring impressive 13 goals and 37 points in 38 regular season games. He scored most points and assists among all defencemen in the junior league and won the U20 championship. His play in the juniors also contributed to him during the end of the season regularly being a member of Frölunda’s senior team in the SEL. He ended the season being named the top defenceman of the U18 WJC and also scoring most points in the same tournament.
Karlsson is a very offensive minded defenceman. He is blessed with excellent hockey sense, confidence and coolness. Everything looks so easy and natural when Karlsson has the puck under control in the offensive zone. He is a true power specialist that usually gets the puck on net and also delivers very good passes. Furthermore, he is mobile and a capable skater with good agility and technical skills.
The knock on Karlsson is his defensive game and size. While he is very cool and confident in the offensive zone, he sometimes chooses difficult solutions in the defensive end. He should play easier and be closer on his opponent. While he Karlsson likely will not be much taller, he should definitely add more strength and muscles. The fact that Karlsson likes to get involved physically and can deliver rather good hits is a big plus. With added strength, his physical play would be much more effective.
We'll see the 18-year-old Swede learn a lot from captain Daniel Alfredsson, and we'll see him play in his red Sens jersey the coming October.