Providence Bruins

Jun 13, 2018


Of all the top prospects that started the year with the Providence Bruins, fans were perhaps most excited about seeing Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson begin his first full professional season. Part of Boston’s loaded draft class of 2015, Forsbacka Karlsson was taken 45th overall in the second round out of Boston University and signed his entry level deal March 2, 2017. He made his NHL debut for Boston last season in their season finale, but 2017-18 would be his first full professional season. Nicknamed “Patrice Bergeron 2.0” by teammate Matt Grzelcyk, Forsbacka Karlsson showed his similarities to the Bruins star with a good rookie season in Providence.

Forsbacka Karlsson came into the season being touted as a great two-way forward prospect. The P-Bruins used him in just that way, playing him in all situations. He centered the team’s second line for most of the season and was a key part of both their power play and penalty killing units. He took many important faceoffs and was a player that did not need to score to make an impact on the game. However, when he was putting up points the P-Bruins were nearly impossible to stop. Forsbacka Karlsson had seven multipoint games through the first week of January with Providence at the top of the Atlantic Division standings.

From the start of October until the end of January, no P-Bruin rookie was more effective than “JFK.” He did not miss any of the team’s 44 games and posted 28 points over that time to lead the club’s first year players. Once February hit, however, his play began to tail off as he hit a bit of a wall. Over the next 12 games played he recorded just a single assist and posted a -6 rating. A dry spell is to be expected of a rookie center, but unfortunately he didn’t have the opportunity to fight out of his first real slump.

Against Hartford on February 25, Forsbacka Karlsson’s season came to a halt after suffering a concussion. He took a big hit from Wolf Pack defender Brendan Smith and stayed down on the ice for several minutes in what was a scary incident. He missed the next 18 games due to the injury, but returned to action for the final weekend of the season. He rebounded well, earning his first two-goal and three-point performance April 14 in Springfield. Forsbacka Karlsson also played in all four Providence playoff games, scoring a goal in their only win of the series against Lehigh Valley.

Now with a full year of experience under his belt and another offseason to get bigger and stronger, Forsbacka Karlsson should be in line for a big 2018-19 season. When healthy his skill set allows him to center any of a team’s four lines effectively, though he is likely better suited for second or third line duties. Those skills and versatility will help Forsbacka Karlsson as he fights for one of the final forward spots on Boston’s roster come training camp. If he doesn’t make the team out of camp, he will return to Providence to center either of the team’s top two lines in 2018-19 while waiting in the wings as one of Boston’s top options should the team need a center.

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The Providence Bruins are the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Boston Bruins, playing their home games at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, RI. Spanning more than 25 years, the Boston/Providence affiliation is one of the longest and most successful player development partnerships in professional hockey history.

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