Landing in the 81st prospect slot for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft is Swedish centre, Linus Karlsson.
Only in two other public rankings (at this moment), Karlsson absolutely tore up the SuperElit trailing only Jonatan Berggren in scoring at that level this season and appeared in a thirteen SHL games over the course of the year. The fact that he was able to appear in those SHL games and saw such large offensive production in the junior ranks makes him a really interesting option.
There are some really startling underlying numbers that make him stand out as a player that is worth taking a look at as a long-term project.
- Age/Birthdate:17.83/ November 16, 1999
- Birthplace: SWE
- Frame:6-foot-1/ 179 lbs
- Position: Centre
- Handedness: Right
- Draft Year Team: Karlskrona HK J20(Superelit)
- J20 SuperElit (Forts) Most Goals (14)
- J20 SuperElit (Forts) Most Points (27)
- J20 SuperElit (Overall) Most Goals (27)
- J20 SuperElit Best Forward
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So, let’s talk about some of these crazy numbers and I’ll get to the standard boxcar stats below. His involvement percentage of 41.6% is crazy good for any player and unless I am mistaken, is the highest of the 100 players we have ranked. The high percentage is common with players in the SuperElit as the really good players stand out but was still ~5% higher than a prospect like Dominik Bokk.
Another number that jumps of the page is the GF%REL of +24.9% – which shows that when Karlsson wasn’t on the ice, the Karlskrona J20 team was struggling. His personal GF% isn’t great but given that his team had a -36 goal differential and the GF%Rel and INV% is so strong, it indicates that the offence was going through Karlsson and if he wasn’t on the ice, they weren’t scoring.
His shot generation was through the roof and all of his stats are in the upper percentiles. He saw in a dip in his GF% in the middle part of the season but then slowly climbed as he consistently put up points.
His icetime just increased as the season went along as the coaching staff clearly were riding his offensive production and play.
Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)
There is no doubt that Linus Karlsson tore up the SuperElit, which is a good sign, and then scoring just one point in the SHL cup of coffee is another good sign. As we can see from his cohort-based analysis, both his SHL and SuperElit time suggest that he has about a 20% success rate with some interesting names throughout both.
His scoring rate was second in the SuperElit behind Jonatan Berggren, who is in conversation as a 1st round pick and was higher than some other draft prospects that are ranked higher.
The GF% and GFREL% stuck out to me as being odd, as how can a player with good but not extraordinary GF% have such a drastic difference when compared to his teammates. The raw numbers for Karlsson at 5v5 play this season were:
- With him on the ice: 59% (+42/-29)
- With him on the bench: 34% (+37/-71)
Just reinforces how much of an impact the draft-eligible centre had on the offence of the Karlskrona J20 team. Karlsson mostly played with Schreiber, Nordstrand and Henbrant at 5v5 and they were the only ones to not get destroyed while on the ice:
Henbrant was good on his own but the difference between the ‘together’ and ‘teammate only’ is drastic in quite a few of the players above. All of those underlying numbers, cohorts and his impact on his teammates suggest that Karlsson is underrated as a draft prospect simply because he played on such a bad team in the J20 league and in the SHL.
Karlsson was unranked in the NHL CSS mid-term rankings but landed in 39th among European skaters in the year-end rankings. So it’s fair to say that some people are becoming aware of what he has done and is an indication that we will see him selected at some point in the draft. He could be a player that surprises. From an ‘eye-test’ side, I liked Karlsson’s shot and puck handling in the offensive zone. He is quick with the puck and will make things happen on his stick through a quick snapshot or pass. His skating isn’t the greatest as it’s choppy and lacks high speed and is likely why he wasn’t ranked until the final rankings.
Overall, I think Karlsson is a really good roll of the dice in later rounds – obviously, we have him ranked as the 81st best prospect but he will likely slide further as indicated by the consolidated ranking of 129th. When entering those later rounds, a player like Karlsson should be who to target. He has produced at every level up until now, he tore up his junior league while making everyone better and held his own in the SHL. He will likely be given a larger role with Karlskrona next season as they were relegated to the Allsvenskan for the 2018-19 season. The drafting team will retain his rights for four years and thus allow him to round out his game in the Allsvenskan for a little longer than a CHL player.
There weren’t any glaring issues to his game in the viewings I had of him and the underlying numbers are extremely noteworthy – heading into the Entry Draft, keep an eye on Linus Karlsson.
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CanucksArmy’s 2018 NHL Draft Rankings