Disappointing Forsbacka Karlsson leaving Bruins to return home to Sweden

Matt Kalman
May 21, 2019 - 12:57 pm

There’ll be one less challenger to Charlie Coyle’s claim to the third-center position on the Bruins’ roster in the fall.

Center Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson has opted to return to his native Sweden and sign with Vaxjo of the Swedish Hockey League for next season. In a statement, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney noted that Forsbacka Karlsson intends to return to the Bruins at some point, but that the 22-year-old wanted to be closer to his family at this time.

Forsbacka Karlsson left the Providence Bruins during last season to attend to a personal matter back home.

Here’s hoping that whatever is going on with Forsbacka Karlsson’s family gets resolved.

As for the Bruins and Forsbacka Karlsson’s situation on the ice, you don’t want to write off a player in his early 20s who by all accounts possesses a high level of skill. But the fact is that he just hasn’t cut it since leaving Boston University to turn pro at the conclusion of the 2016-17 season.

He’s battled injuries throughout his time in North America, but also hasn’t produced as expected He spent the entire 2017-18 season with Providence and had 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) in 58 games. This year he was given a chance to win the Bruins’ third-center spot and failed. He was given a chance to play some wing in Boston’s top six, and failed. He had three goals and six assists in 28 games for the Bruins this season. It was telling that the Bruins didn't keep him around as one of their Black Aces.

It’s not about skill right now for Forsbacka Karlsson, it’s about consistency and desire. Too often he’s looked disengaged in games and practices with Boston and Providence. Maybe his personal stuff was distracting him. Maybe some more time back home will help him grow up. Over the past season no fewer than three or four pro scouts from other teams have been asked about Forsbacka Karlsson by WEEI.com; none felt he was ever going to get it.

Forsbacka Karlsson isn't a lost cause as he leaves North America, but so far he's been a disappointment.

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