PROVIDENCE – In a surprise twist, the Bruins announced on Sunday that Boston University center Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson has signed an entry level deal with the Boston Bruins and will report immediately to the NHL team this coming week.
There was some speculation the former second round pick was headed back to Boston University for his junior season when it didn’t appear the Bruins were willing to get him into NHL action at the end of this season, but that stance clearly changed this weekend. Instead JFK is headed to Boston this week once his work visa paperwork is finalized, and the Bruins might seem to have gotten comfortable with the idea of him showing what he can do at the NHL level.
“It gives us [the NHL] option. We felt comfortable with his progression that if we go down that road with him that he could help us [this season],” said Bruins GM Don Sweeney after watching Charlie McAvoy in action with the P-Bruins on Sunday afternoon. “It was important to his group that we felt there was a mutual confidence that he could do it. He’s leaving a really good situation that he felt very good in [at BU] where his development was, and he wanted to continue on that path.”
The 6-foot-1, 192-pound Forsbacka Karlsson served as alternate captain of the Boston University Terriers as a sophomore in 2016-17, posting 14 goals and 19 assists for 33 points with 32 penalty minutes and a plus-11 rating, and interestingly enough the Terriers were undefeated in games in which he scored a goal (9-0-1). The 20-year-old forward was selected to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team as a freshman in 2015-16 after posting 10 goals and 20 assists for 30 points with 28 penalty minutes and a plus-four rating.
So where could JFK fit in once he gets acclimated with the Bruins?
It’s unknown at this point how serious the injuries are with Frank Vatrano and Jimmy Hayes as well as Tim Schaller (who had been ramping up his rehab from a lower body injury recently), and it might very well be that the Bruins are shoring things up their depth with a solid, two-way player that could potentially play center or wing. Or the Bruins might very well be looking for some competition, or an alternative, for third line center Ryan Spooner, who did score a goal in Sunday’s win over the Blackhawks. But the speedy Spooner’s goal snapped a 10-game goal-scoring drought that’s seen him fade into the offensive background over the last month since coming back from a concussion, and in essence his line has become the fourth line.
It certainly could be that the 20-year-old Forsbacka-Karlsson is going to get a legitimate look as a third line center over the next if Spooner can’t elevate his game to where it was prior to suffering the concussion last month.