Jackets sign first-rounder Carlsson, ‘a smart, two-way defenseman’

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Columbus inked another of its promising young defensemen on Tuesday, agreeing to terms on an entry-level deal with Gabriel Carlsson.

“Gabriel played very well against his peers at the 2016 World Junior Championships and made great strides throughout the season in Sweden’s top professional league with Linkoping,” said GM Jarmo Kekalainen in a release. “We are excited about his future as he is a smart, two-way defenseman who has a chance to be a very good player as he continues to grow and develop.”

Carlsson, 19, was the 29th overall pick in last year’s draft. As Kekalainen mentioned, he’s coming off a good year in the SHL — he was Linkoping’s youngest skater, playing alongside ex-NHLers like Chad Billins and Andrew Gordon.

At 6-foot-4, 183 pounds, Carlsson has good size — albeit a big slight — and it’ll be interesting to see if he can make the push for a spot in Columbus next year. The Jackets have no shortage of young guys on the blueline: Ryan Murray, 22 and Seth Jones, 21, are already entrenched at the NHL level and it’s expected former University of Michigan standout Zach Werenski — the eighth overall pick in ’15 — will challenge for a spot as well.

Other young defensive prospects include Dillon Heatherington (5oth overall, ’13), who just finished his first full pro season in AHL Lake Erie, and Ryan Collins (47th overall, ’14), who just wrapped his sophomore year at the University of Minnesota.

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