Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Karlsson could be the answer for open D spot

The Sens Army Blog's recently recruited European Bureau Chief, Kent Dahlberg, has this report on the "other" Karlsson straight outta Sweden.

Even though Erik Karlsson is probably staying in Sweden another couple of years, there could still be a Karlsson in the Sens lineup this year. Defenceman Mattias Karlsson spent the 2006-2007 season with Bofors of the Swedish second-tier league, racking up 32 points (11+21) in 44 games. (Profile)

At the end of the season, the Stora native signed an entry-level deal with the Sens with the intention to play with the Binghamton Senators. However, while preparing for camp back home in Sweden, he and a teammate hit the ice. The other player fell and the blade of his skate tore the tendom in Karlsson’s knee so bad that he couldn’t do much good at camp. Karlsson was sent to Bingo, but struggled with his knee and only suited up for two games before he went home to Bofors.

His solid play in Sweden’s second league then earned him a promotion to Bofors’ affiliate, Farjestads BK, arguably the most successful team in Sweden over the last decade. He was brought in late in the season to help Farjestad in their playoff run, and only played 13 regular seaso
n games, but still managed to score a couple of goals with a plus/minus of +10.

In the playoffs, Mattias Karlsson was one of their best players, leading the team in ice time. Despite Karlssons’ strong performance, his team was eliminated by the runner-up Linkoping.

Karlsson has told Farjestad that he’s going overseas to attend training camp and hopefully make the roster. If he doesn’t, he’ll return to Sweden for another season in the SEL. But the real question is, what could the larger one (6”3, 215 pounds) of our Karlssons bring to the Sens roster? Well, despite his size he has pretty good mobility; he does not pass with countryman Nick Lidstrom’s precision, although he can make a good first pass. Karlsson's also got a decent shot from the point, even though he will never become a big point-producer at the highest level.

He plays very simple, making a quick pass to get out of his own end quick to start the attack. If I had to compare him to anyone on the current Sens roster, I would say he is a poor man’s Chris Phillips. I can without a doubt see this guy playing in the NHL already, but his unwillingness to adjust in Binghamton might be a problem. I hope Murray, Hartsburg and the rest of the guys give this guy a long look during training camp because this could be the cheapest and best solution for the Sens' defensive gap.

Binghamton, AHL, 2 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PIM

Bofors, Swe-2, 24 GP, 7 G, 10 A, 17 P, 60 PIM
Farjestad, Swe, 13 GP, 2 G, 2 A, 4 PIM
*Farjestad, Swe, 12 GP, 1 G, 3 A, 20 PIM


I’m Kent Dahlberg, your Sens voice from across the pond

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