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NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson

AJ Haefele Avatar
May 21, 2015


Get to Know Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson
Date of Birth: 10/31/1996
Place of Birth: Stockholm, SWE
Ht: 6’1″ Wt: 185 lbs
Shoots: Right
Position: Center
Team: Omaha Lancers (USHL)

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, known by teammates and friends as “JFK”, is a rare prospect in that he came to the United States from his native Sweden two years ago. While players coming from Europe to play major junior hockey in Canada is relatively common, the choice to play in the United States for the USHL is definitely rare.

Forsbacka-Karlsson chose to play in the United States because he has a strong desire to play college hockey. While his dream is ultimately the NHL, Forsbacka-Karlsson has committed to play for Boston University next season as the Terriers look to reload and make another run for the national title.


What Scouts See


A player who has worked hard at his all-around game, but needs to gain more consistency. That being said, he can be an offensively effective center; possesses a high level of hockey intelligence and plays with intensity. A smooth, yet not dynamic skater. An excellent passer; can turn a “nothing doing” play into a scoring chance.

What BSN Avalanche sees

Extensive experience playing in North America is always very helpful when you’re considering drafting a European-born prospect. His two-way play is solid and he’s turned into an ace faceoff man in the USHL. He has a good shot with a quick release and very good hands. College hockey is going to provide him ample time to develop without any rush from the organization.

Production is obviously a question mark as he’s been a little on the older side for the USHL and didn’t dominate the way you might expect him to. Consistency is a real issue as he can rip off 5-point games just as easily as disappear for two weeks at a time. At the moment he could stand to bulk up a bit more as he’s not on the smaller side but does not use his frame effectively, especially when he has the puck. A little too easy to play against right now.


NHL Potential

Forsbacka-Karlsson is a guy with intriguing offensive tools but enough question marks and lack of high ceiling that projecting him into the NHL is a bit of a quandary. Some days you can easily project him onto a weaker second line or stronger third line as a talented complementary player and other days you struggle to see much NHL-caliber talent at all. For now, we’ll play it safe and say the truth is somewhere in the middle and that he’s a likely bottom-6 player with offensive upside.

Expected Draft Position

Forsbacka-Karlsson is firmly in the second-third round conversation right now as his highest current ranking is 31st overall by CSS with ESPN’s Corey Pronman putting him at 40th and former NHL GM Craig Button placing him 54th on his list. Because the second round gets chaotic in terms of rankings to drafted prospects, we’re erring on the side of caution and projecting Forsbacka-Karlsson to be a third round pick at the latest.

How Prospect Fits in Avalanche Organization

Getting into prospects that are projected in this area of the draft, things get murky. While the Avalanche lack quality forwards in their system, they generally don’t have a strong need for centers, especially ones who have little to no experience playing on the wing. Forsbacka-Karlsson is strictly a center right now and while he has a good frame, his strength and toughness are not what you would expect from a 6’1″ pivot.

Were he to be drafted by the Avalanche in the second round, I personally feel it would be a reach by the Avalanche. Still, he’s a player with talent who could develop into a quality complementary forward and with the exceptional talent the Avalanche have at the center position already in the NHL, if Forsbacka-Karlsson fulfilled his potential, he would theoretically provide the kind of quality bottom 6 player the Avalanche have lacked in many years.

If the Avs were to land Forsbacka-Karlsson in the third round, I think it would represent an excellent value selection and while all the criticisms above would still apply, in the third round the risk-reward ratio is much more appropriate from the Avalanche side of things.


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