Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson looking to master learning curve
As expected for a young player when making the adjustment from the NCAA to the professional ranks, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson has experienced his fair share of learning moments during his tenure in the Bruins organization.
Right after signing with Boston after the 2017 college season ended, Forsbacka Karlsson made his professional debut with the Bruins during the final game of the regular season. To say the least, things did not necessarily go as planned. Logging only 8:25 of ice time and not registering a point against the Washington Capitals, Forsbacka Karlsson, as most observers noted, seemed a bit out of place.
Fast forward to this season, Forsbacka Karlsson has seemingly begun to find his way. With three goals, four assists and a plus-four rating through 11 games, the 21-year-old native of Stockholm has seemingly found his niche.
“I think I’m going the right way,” the Bruins’ 2015 second-round pick out of Boston University said after Sunday’s home loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. “It’s still early, [and] it’s a bit of a big adjustment, but I think I’m going the right way.”
After two seasons at BU where he registered 24 goals and 39 assists in 78 games, Forsbacka Karlsson signed a three-year entry level deal with Boston back on April 2 and was slotted into the lineup almost immediately.
Though it was a steep hill to climb, Forsbacka Karlsson says it was a good learning experience and sees it as something to build off of.
“It may have been only a brief moment while I was up there,” Forsbacka Karlsson recalls, “but I learned a lot by just watching the guys every day in the locker room and it was a great experience.”
What Forsbacka Karlsson very well may have experienced is how to cope with and learn from a game that had mixed results. Over a month into his second professional season, Forsbacka Karlsson has had several of those such games.
Take this past weekend for example. On Friday, during a 1-0 loss to Bridgeport, Forsbacka Karlsson had a quiet game, recording just one shot throughout the contest and, for the fourth straight game, did not register a point. The following day, a 5-0 P-Bruins win over the Hartford Wolfpack, Forsbacka Karlsson busted out of his scoring slump, netting a power-play goal in the first and assisting on Kenny Agostino’s goal midway through the second.
Things went south again for Forsbacka Karlsson on Sunday, however, as he was held without a shot and finished with a minus-two rating.
“He’s had some really, really good nights and he’s had some nights like tonight where he’d like to improve on some things,” Providence head coach Jay Leach said after Sunday’s loss. “Clearly there’s some potential there, as we all know. He has some ability that not a lot of guys have. But he’s still trying to find his way consistently as is everybody at his age and at this level.”
Consistency is definitely the glaring problem Forsbacka Karlsson faces during his rookie campaign. In his first five games of the regular season, Forsbacka Karlsson had 2-3-5 totals. Since then, he has only registered two points in his last six games – both of those points, of course, came on Saturday night.
Being more consistent is something that has followed Forsbacka Karlsson since his playing days on Comm. Ave. – and surely he is fully aware that it is something he must work on to be amongst the wave of call-ups.
“I don’t really focus on that [who gets called up and when]” Forsbacka Karlsson said not being among the recent Bruins call-ups. “I just try to stay focused on the next shift. That, to me, is what’s most important.”
For those wondering about if and when JFK can crack the Bruin’s lineup, the best advice I can give is to be patient. After all, as Leach says, he’s “a young kid trying to find his way in professional hockey.”