Here is what you need to know about second-ranked European prospect Gabriel Carlsson.
Age on June 26: 18
Birthplace: Orebro, Sweden
Current team: Linköping J20, SuperElit
North American Central Scouting rank (International): Second
Weight: 183 pounds
Marek’s Take: Big, strong stay-at-home defender whose main strength is shutting down the opposition. Uses his large frame really well in one-on-one situations. Comparable: Simon Despres
A quietly good prospect
Gabriel Carlsson isn’t receiving much fanfare ahead of the NHL draft, and it’s easy to see why.
Labelled as a stay-at-home defenceman, Carlsson is at his best when he’s not being noticed. He isn’t flashy and doesn’t put up gaudy offensive numbers, opting instead to play a safe and simple game. What makes him so intriguing are his raw tools, namely size and strength.
“Carlsson is a tall, physically strong two-way defenceman who has improved a lot during the season. He plays a smart, cool, mature game and uses his size without being overly aggressive. A smart player who can both pass or play the puck out of danger,” said NHL director of European scouting Goran Stubb.
Another reason for Carlsson’s relative anonymity is that he didn’t represent Sweden at the world juniors and only suited up in a handful of games in the Swedish Hockey League, registering two assists in seven regular season games and one assist in 10 playoff games. He spent the majority of the year with Linkoping’s under-20 team in the SuperElit, Sweden’s top junior league, where he had no goals and seven assists with a plus-21 rating in 39 games.
Although he didn’t crack the Swedish world junior team — not unusual for a 17-year-old — Carlsson has worn the Tre Kronor on numerous occasions, most recently at the world under-18 championship in April. Carlsson also suited up for Sweden last season at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial and World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, and this season at the 2015 Under-18 Five Nations tournament.
Swedish birth right
Like every Swedish defenceman ever, Carlsson’s favourite player is Red Wings legend Nicklas Lidstrom.