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NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Gabriel Carlsson

AJ Haefele Avatar
June 19, 2015

 

Get to Know Gabriel Carlsson

Date of Birth: 1/2/1997
Place of Birth: Orebro, SWE
Ht: 6’4″ Wt: 183 lbs
Shoots: Left
Position: Defenseman
Team: Linkoping (SHL)

Statistics

What Scouts See

Last Word on Sports:

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. He battles hard every shift and is willing to do whatever it takes to win games.

He doesn’t throw a lot of big hits, but is very involved in the dirty areas of the ice and is willing to take a hit to make a play. Carlsson is more than willing to put his body on the line and block shots. He could stand to add muscle to his huge frame though, as he is extremely lanky right now. He is very good on the penalty kill, as his big frame and long stick really cut down on options for the attacking team.

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.

Carlsson does have a decent slapshot when he gets the chance to unleash it, but lacks the instincts in the offensive zone to create opportunities for himself. Gabriel Carlsson is a good skater for his size.  He has a good long stride and generates above average speed and acceleration. Carlsson has good balance and can be tough to knock off the puck when playing against his peers, but needs to add some lower body strength to improve on this before transitioning to playing the game against men.

He also has decent agility,  pivots, and edgework which combined with his good backwards skating speed makes him difficult to beat in one-on-one situations.

Bill Placzek:

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.

Director of European Scouting, Goran Stubb:

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.

Mike Morreale, NHL.com:

At 6-foot-4 and 183-pounds, the left-shot defenseman plays big and smart. He’s considered a stay-at-home defender with a good reach who plays a safe, reliable game that has raised his stock among scouts. He uses his size and strength in a smart way.

Highlights

NHL Potential

Carlsson could be a top flight defenseman if he fulfills his vast potential but it’s likelier he settles in as a middle-pairing player who will excel on the penalty kill and could chip in on the power play in a pinch.

Expected Draft Position

The range on Carlsson’s rankings is interesting, making his projections difficult to nail down. He should expect to come off the board in the late first round or sometime in the second round.

How Prospect Fits in Avalanche Organization

It’s hard to say Carlsson is anything but an excellent fit for the Avalanche, especially with their second selection at 40th overall. A big-bodied, highly skilled left-handed defenseman would fit in perfectly with the Avalanche. While the organization already has a bevy of talented left-handers along the blueline in the organization, they say you can never have too much defense for a reason.

The Avalanche have struggled to draft and develop defensemen in the 19 years since moving to Denver. Just because the team is a little heavy at the position currently doesn’t diminish Carlsson’s high-end ability and good fit with the Avs.

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