Sharks to give ‘hard, committed’ Karlsson his NHL debut tonight

2 Comments

One of this summer’s under-the-radar stories was NHL teams raiding the cupboard of Skelleftea, the back-to-back Swedish Hockey League champion.

San Jose was one of those raiding teams and, on Tuesday night, it’ll unveil its find when forward Melker Karlsson makes his NHL debut against Edmonton.

“Melker is a hard, committed player. We’re still finding out a lot about him,” Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said, per CSN Bay Area. “He’s not going to score a whole bunch of goals, but he’ll play on the inside. He’ll keep his nose over the puck.”

Karlsson, 24, was in training camp with San Jose and appeared in two preseason games, going scoreless with six PIM. Previously, he’d earned a reputation as a hard-working and hard-nosed contributor for Skelleftea, one that could provide some offense (66 points in 216 games) when called upon.

It’ll be interesting to see how his game translates to the NHL after scoring four goals and eight points in 20 games with AHL Worcester.

One of Karlsson’s ex-Skelleftea teammates from last season, Joakim Lindstrom, is having a solid year in St. Louis with three goals and six points through 23 games. Another former teammate, defenseman Johan Alm, was in training camp with the Predators and is now a regular contributor with their farm team in AHL Milwaukee.

As for Karlsson, he’ll play on a line with Barclay Goodrow and James Sheppard tonight and could be in line for some decent minutes, given fellow Sharks forwards Tyler Kennedy and Matt Nieto are unavailable.

McLellan is excited about seeing what Karlsson can do.

“He’ll give you everything he has,” the head coach explained. “Character and commitment are two of the words we use when we talk about him.”