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Anton Karlsson comes from excellent bloodlines. The younger brother of Erik Karlsson, (not the Senators Superstar, the Canes 4th rounder in 2012), he’s been a star for Sweden at the International stage putting up 9 points in 6 games and leading Sweden to Gold as captain at the 2013 U17 Hockey Challenge. He scored 5 points in 4 games at this summer’s Ivan Hlinka, and 4 points in 5 games at 2013 Under 18 (playing against the age group ahead of him). He also played at the World Junior but didn’t see a lot of ice time on a very experienced team. Karlsson didn’t get a point at this year’s Under 18, where he was an alternate captain on the team. I’m not sure if it was just a rough tournament or he was playing through an injury as he just didn’t look like the same player as a year ago, given all I’ve seen though and good performances time and time again at the international level, I’m willing to give Karlsson the benefit of the doubt here.
Karlsson plays in Frolunda’s developmental system where he scored 22 points in 28 games for the under-20 aged team before being loaned to Mora in the Swedish Allvenskan where he struggled with limited ice-time playing against men for the first time.
Left Wing/Right — shoots Left
Born Aug 3 1996 — Goteborg, Sweden
Height 6.01 — Weight 194 [185 cm/88 kg]
Anton Karlsson is a very good skater. His top end speed and acceleration are both good, but he could use some work on his first step to be even more dynamic. His agility is also good and helps him to avoid defenders. However the best thing is the power in his stride and his strength and balance on the puck. Karlsson has the ability to muscle through checks and is extremely hard to knock off the puck, especially battling in the corners and in front of the net.
Offensively, Karlsson has the ability to stickhandle and control the puck and make slick moves at top speed. Couple this with excellent vision and passing skills and you have a winger who can make plays off the rush. He also loves to forecheck and to play a gritty-style of game, controlling the well down low and looking for opportunities to use those passing skills. Karlsson has the soft hands in tight to score goals on rebounds and tip-ins close to the net. He also shows an agitating side as he can get under the skin of opponents and is at the middle of nearly every scrum after the whistle when he is on the ice. His shot is decent but it could use more power.
Anton Karlsson is also well-developed defensively for a player his age. He backchecks hard and aggressively, helping his defence with strong backpressure. He is willing to be gritty and fight for loose pucks in all three zones. Karlsson blocks shots and disrupts passing lanes.
In terms of style, Karlsson’s game is reminiscent of a bigger version of Ryan Callahan, though this is a style comparison and not a potential one. In terms of potential, Karlsson could be an effective two-way winger capable of playing top six minutes, as well as powerplay and penalty killing time if he reaches his ceiling.
Here are some highlights of Anton Karlsson in action.
Check back tomorrow for the number 34 Prospect on my list.
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