One of the Carolina Hurricanes’ few prospects to play overseas, Erik Karlsson, played most of last season in the Swedish Elite League and is currently at the Hurricanes’ development camp in Raleigh.
Karlsson, who shares the same name as the Ottawa Senators‘ star defenseman, was chosen by the Canes in the fourth round of the 2012 NHL Draft.
Before the draft, Karlsson was ranked 14th in European skaters by Central Scouting after playing in 47 games with Frolunda U20′s team and appearing in three different tournaments for his native Sweden.
The Hurricanes ended up choosing the 18-year-old with the 99th pick.
This past season, Karlsson scored 10 goals and 25 assists in 40 games for the same junior team improving on his 13 point total from the previous season. He also appeared in five games for the big club recording no points.
Karlsson saw a huge improvement between his two seasons with the U20 team, which is a good thing for a young player.’s confidence. Next year he will likely play in the Elisterien for the full season against grown men.
Elite Prospects lists Karlsson at six foot and 168 lbs, which is a little light for the rigor of the NHL or AHL. But the young center will work on that during his season with Frolunda.
The hockey prospect website also notes that Karlsson is a speedy player that plays with a lot of intensity. He’s also small, but is not afraid of contact. With skills like those, it sounds like Karlsson could be a bottom-six energy player with some scoring ability.
However, the road will not be easy for Karlsson. He’ll play another season in Sweden and then most likely come to North America to play in the AHL.
He’ll only be 20-years-old at that point, still a young age, but he’s already shown interest in making the NHL since he made the trip to development camp the past two summers.