This is part 13 of my Prospect File series where I update you guys’ on Hockey’s Future’s Top 20 Anaheim Ducks prospects. This will be a daily series that will hopefully end before the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. I will also be doing a series on possible players the Ducks will take with their first round pick. Part 12 was on winger Devante Smith-Pelly. So, next up in part 13 is #8 on HF’s Top 20, center William Karlsson.
The young Swede was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round back in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and just recently signed an entry-level contract with the organization. After being nearly a point-per-game player in his final season in a Swedish junior league, Karlsson enjoyed a successful rookie season in the Swedish Elite League. In fact, he was awarded the Rookie of the Year Award. Karlsson put up 4 goals and 24 assists for 28 points in 50 games for HV71 in the SEL. He also was a +17 in those 50 games. There really isn’t too much of a weakness in his overall game. He plays well in every zone. He has some good offensive skill, but will make an impact defensively as well. Ducks’ GM Bob Murray said the team would look differently next season. The Ducks have a lot of young centers and Karlsson has a bright future.
Weight: 176 lbs.
“Karlsson took a step up this season from the Allsvenskan of Sweden to the Elitserien, and his first season at the top level in Sweden was very promising as Karlsson was named the league’s Rookie of the Year. A crafty and quick-skating center, Karlsson had a 28-point rookie season for HV71 and accumulated 24 assists. His speed and playmaking make him a very big threat in the offensive zone, and he is strong in his own end too. Karlsson holds steady in the Ducks rankings, but the sheer fact that he succeeded in his first year of the Swedish Elite League is very promising. A good amount of NHL talent has translated over from the SEL to the NHL, and if Karlsson can continue to improve and get stronger physically, he will be a solid all-around addition to the Ducks.
Karlsson is one of three very well-rounded Swedes in the Ducks system. His speedy, two-way game should prove suitable to the North American game as soon as he gains some more strength. Not only is he quick, he is also shifty and capable of making plays in traffic. Karlsson was outstanding for the Swedes in their sprint to gold at the World Juniors.
This season Karlsson has played in the relegation-tier Swedish pro league and performed very well. It would be outstanding for his development to get some time in the SEL and then a stint at the North American minor pro level. While he is still not very close to making his NHL debut, Karlsson projects as a second-line center who could ease into a checking role if his scoring output was not up to snuff.”
“A speedy and skilled player. Karlsson has good hockey sense and is fairly all-round overall. Works hard both ways and is reliable defensively. Nice passing ability. Creates a lot of scoring changes with his skating. Has a creative side and some shifty moves too. Needs to get stronger. (EP 2011)”
Next up in the series will be forward Nicolas Kerdiles.