The Canucks made their second trade of the day close to the 3:00 PM EST deadline, acquiring forward Linus Karlsson from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for forward Jonathan Dahlen.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 25, 2019
The team also traded blueliner Erik Gudbranson to the Penguins in exchange for forward Tanner Pearson.
The 19-year-old Karlsson has put up four goals and 17 points in 48 games for Karlskrona HK in the Allsvenskan. He tied for the league lead in goals (27) and finished tied for second in points (52) in 42 games for Karlskrona Junior in the SuperElit league last year. He was also named the league’s top player.
The 6-1, 187-pound forward was selected by San Jose in the third round, 87th overall, at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Here is a scouting report on Karlsson.
The Canucks are giving up the 21-year-old prospect Dahlen in the trade.
Dahlen is currently playing with Utica in the AHL, where he has 14 goals and 29 points in 50 games in his first professional season.
Dahlen previously played for Timra in Allsvenskan before going to North America. He was named the League’s Most Valuable Player and Forward of the Year in 2017-18 after scoring 23 goals and 44 points in 44 games. He also posted 14 points (eight goals) in 10 playoff games, helping Timra capture a league championship and earn a berth in the Swedish Elite League.
Dahlen also represented Sweden on the WJC-18 team in 2015 and the 2017 World Junior Championships, where he scored five goals in seven games.
The 21-year-old was originally selected by the Ottawa Senators in the second round (42nd overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft.
According to GM Jim Benning, Dahlen’s agent asked for a trade. Listening to Benning on 1040, it seems Dahlen’s development wasn’t going as hoped.
“(Linus) Karlsson is a player our scouts like. He’s strong on the puck, he’s a good two-way player, he’s a good playmaker. He’s a guy at the draft, we looked at drafting. With Jonathan Dahlen, he went into Utica and he’s been kinda up-and-down in his development, so we felt we liked the player we were getting back, so we made the deal.”
“I find sometimes young players now, sometimes they don’t want to pay their dues in development time, they just want an NHL opportunity off the start. We just felt there was development left before that, and I guess that’s where the discrepancy was…”
Benning ultimately chalks this deal up as a lateral move.
“I think this is a lateral move. His agent asked me a couple weeks ago if we could move him. I said if we could do a lateral move where we feel good about getting a player back we like, we’d do it. And our guys feel good about Karlsson, so we did it.”
Hockey prospect analyst Shane Malloy says Karlsson has high hockey sense and a very good shot, and projects to be a solid two-way, third-line centre, while he has doubts that Dahlen can create the time and space he needs at the NHL level.
It will be debated if the Canucks gave up on Dahlen too early, but Benning was put in a tough spot and was able to get a solid return. The system in Utica and Vancouver’s AHL player development will likely receive more attention and be called into question following this deal.