Top 25 Under 25
#5 - Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson - F
Where did he come from?: 2015 Draft, 2nd round, 45th overall
Has he played in the NHL?: Yes! Once at the end of last season
JFK played a single NHL game last season at the end of the season in order to justify him signing a contract.
His time at BU certainly justifies the Bruins’ faith in this young player.
A “do-everything” kind of center, JFK has been one of the many players that BU could count on this last season to help them get ranked in the top 10 nationally and finish 2nd in Hockey East in a tough year. He got them here by being an efficient (best on the team in goals/shots on goal) shooter, best on the team in faceoff %, having a good idea for when to pass and make plays, fearless in front of the net and on the boards, and by being able to pull results from seemingly thin-air, being able to create chances from plays that couldn’t possibly have been otherwise. This helped lift him to being the only player on the team to score a hat trick last season in a game where BU was understaffed. To the point that when it came to signing him, Boston just decided to keep him around for the forseeable future, letting him skip Providence entirely.
Of course, that does leave him in a bit of a weird position, more than many of the forwards in Boston’s system right now.
What Does The Future Hold for JFK?:
JFK signed his ELC with the expectation that he’d be able to play on the Bruins and it appears the team plans on honoring that for the time being (he wasn’t assigned to Providence after the playoffs, after all). However, there are no spots at Center open to him, right?...in theory, anyway.
In practice, the team could use JFK as a backup “5th” Center to spur Ryan Spooner/Riley Nash to play better if they think they’re falling behind in some areas, going through a rough patch of play, or as a replacement if they’ve gotten hurt. After all, Spooner will be a UFA after next year, and while he seems to like Boston and Boston seems to be okay with him, JFK is definitely a perfectly viable alternative.
That assessment is based on just one game, however. He’ll have to prove the team right on their belief in him come camp, like every other player gunning for a spot this year. If not, off to Providence for a year.
In the near future, he will likely be called upon to take that third line center role full-time, as the top six seems to be A-OK in the medium-term.