2015 NHL Draft Profile #47: Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson

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Swedish native Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson played his youth hockey in the Linkopings system but came over to North America for the 2014-15 season. He has spent the last two years with the Omaha Lancers of the USHL. As a rookie he had 33 points in 60 games. Forsbacka-Karlsson added 15 goals and 53 points in 50 games for the Lancers this past season. A late 1996 birthday, he played for Sweden at the 2014 IIHF Under 18 World Championships, playing a more defensive role, and recording just two assists. He was more successful at the 2013 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge where his two goals and five points in six games helped Sweden to the gold medal. He is expected to play NCAA hockey next year and is committed to the Boston University Terriers.

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson

Center — shoots Right
Born Oct 31 1996 — Stockholm, Sweden
Height 6.01 — Weight 190 [185 cm/86 kg]

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson is much more of a playmaker than a goal scorer.  He makes good passes to his wingers off the rush, and can use strong vision and passing skills in the cycle game. He has good stickhandling, and uses his size to protect the puck down low, working well in that cycle and maintaining possession for his team. Forsbacka-Karlsson has an accurate shot and a decent release, but he could add some upper-body strength and add power to it.  He is gritty in the corners, and often comes out with the puck.  Forsbacka-Karlsson is very effective on the forecheck, forcing defenders to rush plays and make mistakes. He may need to add some upper-body strength to continue to play this type of game at the pro-level.  With the weekend focused schedule of the NCAA game, and fewer games than in the USHL, he certainly should get the time to be able to add that muscle in the gym.  He could use some work on finding openings and being in good position to take a pass and get a scoring chance when he doesn’t have the puck.

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson has good, but not great speed and acceleration. However the other parts of his skating are at a high level.  He has excellent lower body strength and balance.  It is hard to knock Forsbacka-Karlsson off the puck, and he uses his size to protect it effectively in the cycle.  He also has very good agility and edgework.

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson is a strong two-way player. He is very good in the face-off circle, winning draws in both the offensive and defensive zone. The fact that he is a right-handed centre even increases the value of these face-off skills. He is also strong positionally, and works well to help his defenders, and contain opposing forwards down low on the cycle game.  Forsbacka-Karlsson is not afraid to block shots.  He brings his gritty game and ability to battle hard on the boards to all three zones.  He is a top penalty killer for the Lancers, and shows very good anticipation and the ability to cut down passing lanes with his long and active stick.

Forsbacka-Karlsson has the potential to be a second line center at the NHL level, but it is more likely that he ends up on the third line.  He is very good defensively, and could develop into the type of checking line player who is a key penalty-killer for the club. Forsbacka-Karlsson’s game is reminiscent of Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings, but I must caution that this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on talent.

Below are some highlights of Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson in action.

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