Strong play can come from anywhere on the ice. It doesn't matter the role you are given, if you can fulfill the team's needs then you'll have a spot on the roster.
Gabriel Carlsson came over to North America from the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) after his season with Linkoping HC ended. He played for the Cleveland Monsters and then quickly joined the Blue Jackets at the end of the season.
The former first round draft pick wasn't supposed to be in that situation. He was thrown to the wolves and was able to fend for himself. It only makes Carlsson all the more interesting as a prospect and player.
What did we expect?
It didn't look like Carlsson was going to come over to North America just yet considering his developmental path. He was being given a heavy dose of European seasoning.
If he was ever going to play in North America, it was never going to be for the Blue Jackets. Nothing from his developmental path indicated that he would be ready for such a heavy workload in the NHL. He played in a men's league but was never a dominant force.
What did we get?
A player that didn't shy away from the spotlight.
As injuries began to plague the team, it became obvious they needed new blood on the team. They had been trying different players in the position and none made much of a difference.
Carlsson was called up and in his games played was more than serviceable. The final two games of the regular season saw him getting one assist. He also had a shot differential that was great from his bottom pairing role.
After the sting during the regular season, Carlsson was thrown to the proverbial wolves when he played in the playoffs. He never backed down when facing the best players in the world on the Penguins.
That says a lot about the player.
Mind you, his entire course of play was a small sample size. Not anything to draw multiple conclusions off of. Nonetheless, it's encouraging. It was a sink or swim moment and he was able to swim at the end of the season.
It wasn't spectacular but Carlsson got his first NHL point in the final game of the regular season. He didn't do a whole lot on the play. He rimmed a puck around the boards that found Boone Jenner, who laid it off to Matt Calvert to score the first goal of the game.
Great way to pick up a secondary assist.
According to CapFriendly.com, Carlsson has three years remaining on his contract at $ 894,166 per season. He is currently playing on his entry level contract. He will be a restricted free agent when his contract ends.