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Canucks’ Top 25 Under 25 (2022 Edition): #10 Linus Karlsson

Linus Karlsson continues to look like found money for the Canucks.

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Welcome to the 2022 Edition of the Vancouver Canucks Top 25 Under 25 Rankings. The list includes all players in the Canucks system who were born after April 15th, 1998.

When the Canucks’ acquired Linus Karlsson, he was less than an afterthought. He was the nominal return for Jonathan Dahlen — a highly touted prospect who the team received in return for Alex Burrows. While debate raged on (and still does) around Dahlen, few, if any people paid close attention to Karlsson.

In recent years, though, he’s become a notable name in the Canucks’ pipeline.

Karlsson started off as a third-round pick by the San Jose Sharks in 2018, going 87th overall. He put up middling totals across various Swedish leagues, and failed to make an obvious impact. Certainly, the return seemed underwhelming for someone who was once a blue-chip prospect in Dahlen.

Then, things turned around.

His 2019-20 season in the Allsvenskan league saw him put up 40 points in 48 games. The momentum carried on into the 2020-21 season, where he put up a highly impressive 51 points in 52 games, before graduating to the SHL where he scored at nearly a point-a-game clip, with 46 points in 52 contests, breaking the SHL scoring record previously held by Elias Pettersson, of all people.

Over the course of just a few seasons, Karlsson’s production had ballooned, making him look like a full-fledged impact prospect in the Canucks’ system.

In terms of his player profile, Karlsson is a strong possession player (he had a 56.7% Corsi last year), with an effective shot. Allvin has spoken highly of Karlsson’s two-way game as well, making him an intriguing package. Hayden Soboleski of DobberProspects describes him as a “potential middle-six, versatile centre”. EliteProspects talks about Karlsson as having “fine hands and overall offensive skills”, praised his “good size and goal-scoring ability”, and spoke positively of his character and hockey IQ.

What’s Next for Karlsson?

Look for Karlsson to be an integral part of the 2022-23 Abbotsford Canucks, and quite possibly make something of an NHL push throughout pre-season and into the year. Given Karlsson’s previous professional experience, it stands to reason that Karlsson could make a legitimate impact in the American Hockey League right out of the gate.

What makes Karlsson such an intriguing fit in the AHL is his versatility. He can play up the middle, or on the wing. He can play in more of a pure offensive role, given his skill and shooting prowess, or he could be a two-way specialist. He can also fit nicely on either special teams’ unit. He’s a jack of all trades, in a sense, and it could make him a core piece in Abbotsford in 2022-23.

This versatility is also what makes him a dark horse for the NHL roster. It’s conceivable that his two-way skillset and offensive capabilities could make him intriguing in a bottom-six role for the Canucks, should he have himself a good training camp and pre-season. Is it likely? Not especially, but it’s far from impossible. Linus Karlsson was not initially on many people’s radar, but he’s put in the work to become a legitimately intriguing name in the Vancouver prospect system.