2015 First-Round Pick Gabriel Carlsson Headed to Blue Jackets Organization

By 1OB Staff on March 30, 2017 at 12:52 pm

2015 first-round pick Gabriel Carlsson is headed stateside to join the Blue Jackets organization.

The website of Linköping HC notes that Carlsson has already headed across the Atlantic, and Columbus announced this afternoon that Carlsson will join the AHL's Cleveland Monsters. Carlsson previously signed with Columbus in April of last year but spent this season on loan in his home country.

“Gabriel played very well against his peers at the 2016 World Junior Championships and made great strides throughout the season in Sweden’s top professional league with Linköping,” Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen said last year when the team signed Carlsson. “We are excited about his future as he is a smart, two-way defenseman who has a chance to be a very good player as he continues to grow and develop.”

The Blue Jackets chose Carlsson with the No. 29 overall pick (originally Tampa Bay's) in the 2015 draft, 21 picks after taking Zach Werenski. The 6-4 prospect turned 20 years old on Jan. 2 and projects as a stay-at-home defenseman, as he finished a season in which he had two goals and two assists and a plus-8 rating in 30 games with Linköping of the SHL, the top league in his home country.

Carlsson has played twice for the Swedish team at the World Junior Championships, totaling five assists in 13 games. 

"Has a huge frame and figures to play at well over 200 pounds at the highest level, which is what NHL scouts love," writes The Hockey News' forecaster. "Owns a big point shot and an exemplary work ethic. Is willing to play a rugged style. Makes a solid first pass. ... 

"Is not a great skater, and is somewhat raw and awkward, so he will need to improve his skating and footwork in order to maximize NHL output. Does not have high-end offensive upside. Can he put it all together?"

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