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Developing Forsling

by Tyson Giuriato / Vancouver Canucks
Prospects like Gustav Forsling is the reason the Vancouver Canucks hold Development Camp.

Seeing him, in person, on the ice and in the weight-room confirms why the team drafted him.

For the sixth year in a row the Canucks went with a defenceman in the fifth round of the draft when they made the Swedish-born Forsling the 126th pick overall in 2014.

Forsling turned heads during the World Under-18 Championships in April when he netted five points (4-1-5) in seven games, leading all tournament defencemen in goals, with all four of them coming on the man-advantage.

“I am an offensive player,” said Forsling. “I am good on the power-play, I have a great shot and I feel I am not that bad in my defensive zone, but I still need to work on it.”

There is no questioning his offensive talents, but his play in the defensive zone may have affected his draft stock, which is why he went in the mid-rounds. But the Canucks weren’t drafting him based on his defensive play, they saw what he can bring to the team, and that’s offense.

“His defensive game needs to develop and he needs to get a bit stronger,” said Canucks director of player development, Stan Smyl. “The biggest thing when looking at why we drafted him was that he brings that offense to the game.”

The plan appears for Forsling to stay in Sweden and develop his game, most likely starting in the Swedish Hockey League next season with Linkopings HC, who he trained with a bit last year.

A solid start to the season in the SHL and Forsling could play his way onto the Swedish National Junior team, which left him off the list of invitees for their summer camp in Lake Placid.

“I try not to think about it that much,” said Forsling, who is also an avid fisherman. “Maybe next year I can make the team, but I don’t let it bother me right now.”

Just freshly-turned 18, Forsling has lots of time to develop his all-around game. A couple seasons in Sweden followed by some action in the American Hockey League is most likely in the cards, much like fellow Swedish prospect Henrik Tommernes, who plays a very similar style of game.

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