2022-23 Team: Örebro HK J20 (Sweden-Jr.)
Date of Birth: March 2, 2005
Place of Birth: Strömstad, Sweden
Height: 6-foot-0, Weight: 181 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: First-Year Eligible
Kalle Carlsson is a smart, hard-working center who entered the season as a top prospect for the 2023 NHL Draft but his rankings have dipped as the year progressed. As a 17-year-old in 2021-22, he looked great with Örebro HK J20 in Sweden, putting up eight goals and 27 points in 30 games, tying teammate and fellow 2023 prospect Leo Carlsson, although the latter only played 14 games with the club. Still, as one of the youngest players on the team, there was plenty of room to grow, and expectations were high for his draft year.
Unfortunately, Carlsson took a step back in 2022-23. He played 44 games with Örebro HK J20 and led the team with 11 goals and 35 points, giving him a point-per-game average of 0.80. However, last season, he was scoring at a 0.9 point-per-game rate. His goal rate also slipped from 0.27 to 0.25 goals per game. Örebro HK called him up early in the season, but he only managed to get on the ice for four and a half minutes over three games without recording a single point. He also made the Swedish roster for the Hlinka Gretzky Tournament but put up zero points in five games and scored just a single goal in six games at the World Junior A Challenge.
Carlsson’s failure to live up to expectations resulted in a drop on the Central Scouting list from 49th to 136th between their midterm and final rankings. While prospects rarely see that drastic of a drop, his situation is far from uncommon. Take Aatu Raty, who was projected to be the first-overall pick in 2021 after dominating the Finnish U20 league as a 17-year-old. However, as an 18-year-old, he struggled with injuries, inconsistency, and his dominant offensive numbers suffered, and he fell to the second round before he was drafted. Since then, though, he’s bounced back; at the 2022 World Juniors, he finished second on Team Finland with 10 points in seven games en route to claiming a silver medal, and after a change of Liiga team, he was scoring at a point-per-game pace.
Latest News & Highlights
I think there are some parallels between Carlsson and Raty, who are both described as intelligent 200-foot centers, but needed to take some extra time to figure out the finer aspects of their game. There’s no denying that Carlsson sees the ice very well and is a capable playmaker. He can move around the ice easily and can pick out teammates who are ready to take a shot, or move into an opening and take the shot himself, which is strong and accurate. He’s also reliable on defence, using his vision to close off passing lanes and identify potential threats. He just lacks the patience and creativity to separate himself from the pack. Thankfully, just like Raty, that should come with time.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Kalle Carlsson – NHL Draft Projection
Carlsson, just as it was for Raty, will almost certainly slip down the rankings on draft day. This season, he’s been impatient with the puck, and his puckhandling and zone entries suffer because of it. He doesn’t wait for openings as often as he should, nor does he use creativity to find those openings when they close. However, those are common problems for young players, especially those who play a 200-foot game. While it will hurt his draft projection, there shouldn’t be much concern for fans, who will just have to wait a little longer for him to refine his game.
“…the role of 2-way centermen is becoming an ever-growing role in its importance in modern hockey. Utility on the ice is key, and Kalle Carlsson is making himself the ever-attractive late-1st round pick this year as he ranks high for 2-way forwards. Like Theo Lindstein, Kalle Carlsson is a trustworthy anchor for his team when he plays. “An aware player that knows where to be on the ice, fluid skater and a skilled passer.” He consistently ranks high in assists in whichever league he plays in, especially for players his age. He’s also not afraid to shoot at the net as well, has his point ratio is not too shallow in goals as well. If Carlsson continues to grow his utility on the ice, suspect him to become an important tool for any organization that drafts him.” – Isaiah Bouchard, Draft Pro
“He is a playmaker who creates space for his teammates with his strong skating and high hockey IQ. In the same way that his hockey sense allows him to thrive offensively, he can also play defence efficiently thanks to his smartness.” – Jacob Smeds, McKeen’s Hockey
“After an underwhelming performance at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, Carlsson has settled into his draft year, impressing with a hockey IQ that allows him to think his way into scoring positions, especially on the power play. Carlsson is a middling prospect who has yet to show top-six scoring traits, but after making his SHL debut this season with Orebro, it’s clear scouts and coaches see his promise.” – Ian Kennedy, The Hockey News
- Puck movement
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
It’s difficult to say what Carlsson will become in the NHL following this season. He doesn’t possess the high-end skills that would make him a top-six scorer, but he could very well become a middle-six center who can play on both the power play and penalty kill. However, it’s just as likely that he could fizzle out and remain in Europe for his entire career. There’s a lot of risk with him simply because of how his season went, and while I believe that he just needs some more time to figure out his overall game, it’s impossible to know if it will all come together for him in the future.
Risk – 5/5, Reward – 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 6/10, Defense – 6/10
Kalle Carlsson Statistics