Checking in at our 74th ranked spot is diminutive winger Marcus Karlberg.
Obviously, any time we talk about a winger that is 5’8″, there is concern that his size won’t be able to translate up the professional ranks in North America but Marcus Karlsson produced at a really high level in the Swedish junior league that he may be worth the risk and patience.
Karlberg is a player that stands out analytically and does pass the eye test in terms of skill, but is it enough?
We’ll take a look at the Leksands winger in depth.
- Age/Birthdate: 17.65/ January 23, 2000
- Birthplace: Leksand, SWE
- Frame:5-foot-8/ 165 lbs
- Position: Right Wing / Left Wing
- Handedness: Right
- Draft Year Team: Leksands IF J20(Superelit)
- U16 SM Bronze Medal
- J18 SM Silver Medal
- TV-Pucken Bronze Medal
- U16 Elit (West) Most Assists (34)
- U16 Elit (West) Most Points (60)
- J20 SuperElit (Forts) Most Assists (16)
The Leksands native has played his entire career with the program and looks to be on the edge of making the top team. He appeared in two games for Leksand this past season and scored one goal after tearing up the J18 league and SuperElit. He has produced at every level thus far in his development and this past season was no different.
His 47 points this season was ranked 7th in the SuperElit and his 1.21 points-per-game were third behind the previously ranked Linus Karlsson and Jonathan Berggren.
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Karlberg stands out in involvement percentage, SEAL, shooting percentage and pGPS. Generally shooting percentage is a concern but Karlberg produces shots at a reasonable rate. It’s something that will regress and thus will need to increase his volume to remain so consistent.
Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)
Karlberg killed it in terms of points per 60 and rolling scoring rates – he was consistent with his production throughout the entire season and made the most of it. Aside from the defensive pairing of Alexander Lundqvist and Kalle Eriksson, he made everyone better when paired together. Can’t really ask for more from a small winger like Karlberg.
Personally, I was surprised at this success rate among cohorts. He produced at basically the same rate as Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyqvist but at a younger age. Tedenby carved out a decent NHL career but has been plying his trade in the SHL for the last few years and Carl Hagelin was the other match.
There were no successful cohorts based on his limited sample size in the Allsvenskan and his D-1 production.
Karlberg was a victim of circumstances as Leksands was a top team in the Allsvenskan and was aiming to be promoted to the SHL before Timra IK crushed those dreams, thus taking a risk on a small 18-year-old player likely wasn’t in the cards for them. He did get a couple of games, scoring this goal:
— C More Sport (@cmoresport) November 15, 2017
Karlberg did sign an extension with Leksands and could find himself on the big club next season.
The right-handed winger is a plucky player who slips in and out of coverage and makes the most of his chances. He is more a puck distributor, as evidenced by his stats, but has a quick and deceptive wrist shot that leaves his stick with pace. It isn’t heavy but the release is deceiving. As with any player with his size, he can be overpowered in puck battles and along the boards. I like his smarts with the puck and his abilities to thread a pass.
The major concern that stands out to me is – does he have enough skill to buck the odds?
He is a skilled player who moves the puck well, has a good shot, and makes smart players but there is concern that he isn’t great at any of those.
With more of a chance with Leksands next season, it’s fair to believe that those concerns could get eradicated.
As we can see below, none of the public rankings have Karlberg in their rankings, thus he is unranked in the consolidated. Which is not surprising but given his offensive production and the fact other players of the same size are listed, Karlberg feels like a player that is worth the risk. His underlying numbers are really encouraging and he should get a chance next year or the year after with the big club. He may be a long-term project but teams make worse picks all the time in the later rounds.
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CanucksArmy’s 2018 NHL Draft Rankings