Bruins Recall Forsbacka Karlsson

The Boston Bruins have recalled Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson from the AHL, the team announced Friday. Forsbacka Karlsson has played in one NHL game in his career and has yet to see a call-up since being sent to Providence after the 2016-17 regular season.

The 22-year-old Forsbacka Karlsson has scored one goal and four points in nine games in the AHL this season. While he was expected to be the favorite coming out of training camp to earn a third-line center role in Boston this season after a three-way competition between himself, Trent Frederic and Jack Studnicka, all three failed to grasp a role with the club. Studnicka was sent to the OHL as a result while both Forsbacka Karlsson and Frederic were assigned to the AHL respectively in the coming weeks.

High Expectations for Forsbacka Karlsson

A right-shot center from Stockholm, Sweden, Forsbacka Karlsson has been touted as many to be “the next Patrice Bergeron.” It’s a high claim given how successful Bergeron has been in the NHL and given his place as a legend in Bruins’ history. Still, anybody who watched Forsbacka Karlsson during his time in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers or at Boston University saw exactly where those comparisons came from.

Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson - Bruins
Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Boston Bruins, September 17, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In his first season at Boston University during the 2015-16 season, Forsbacka Karlsson would score 10 goals and 30 points in 39 games. He’d have an even better sophomore season when he’d score 14 goals and 33 points in 39 games, all the while playing a mature game that featured accountability in all three zones.

The Bruins would sign Forsbacka Karlsson at the tail-end of the 2016-17 season with the hope that he could make the jump to the NHL sooner than later given his collegiate success. He would get one game to show the Bruins what he could do against the Washington Capitals, though he would only skate in 8:25 of ice time across 13 shifts, winning one faceoff and losing another while recording zero points and zero shots on net.

It was a fairly innocuous debut from the young center but unfortunately, he’s never been given another chance to play in the NHL to prove he can do any better.

Forsbacka Karlsson Has Worked Towards This Recall

Forsbacka Karlsson would deal with injuries during the 2017-18 season in Providence that also hindered his ability to really shine. Naturally, this limited his stock for an NHL call-up last season despite the numerous injuries the Bruins were dealing with on the main roster.

He would score 15 goals and 32 points in 58 games in Providence last season while adding another goal in four postseason appearances. It wasn’t the most dominant rookie season in the AHL but all things considered, it wasn’t the worst despite the injury obstacles he faced.

Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson - Bruins
Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Boston Bruins, September 17, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

With the Bruins clearly missing a third-line center and any semblance of depth scoring this season, the call-up of Forsbacka Karlsson makes sense. The Bruins are undoubtedly exhausting all of their options now before looking outside of their organization for help – a smart decision given the talent in the system as well as factoring in how significant the cost of a potential trade could be.

It’s unclear when or if Forsbacka Karlsson will get into the Bruins’ lineup, but the Bruins could opt to immediately slot him into the third-line center role for their next game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday if they deem it necessary. The Bruins also play against the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday which would be another prime opportunity to dress him for a game.