Everything has gone lightning fast for the 18-year-old.
After a brilliant season in Örebro, which went out of the SC play-offs in the semi-finals, he made his debut for Tre Kronor in Östersund in an international match against Norway on 19 April.
Six international games later, he is a center in the first chain of Tre Kronor’s WC team with NHL players Lucas Raymond, 21, and Alexander Nylander, 25, on each wing.
– It is going to be fun. To be able to play with people who think like me, fast and smart, it will be nice, says Carlsson, who has been noted for four assists in the matches before the World Cup.
Leo Carlsson, who at 18 years and 136 days old is just over a month younger than Nicklas Bäckström in the WC 2006, does not feel any nervousness.
In an Olympic context, Rasmus Dahlin is the youngest ever in Tre Kronor, 17 years old.
— I usually get nervous before matches, but after the first change, it’s gone. So that’s nice. I’m just going to play my game and keep the puck, he says in the mixed zone in the Nokia Arena where the players face the press.
Debut goal as a 16-year-old
He scored his first goal in the SHL as a 16-year-old and responded this season for 25 points (10+15) in the regular season and nine points in 13 games in the playoffs.
Despite his youth, he gets a big role in Tre Kronor and is also included in the starting line-up in numerical superiority.
Confederation captain Sam Hallam is full of admiration for Leo Carlsson and has not hesitated to give him a big role.
— It is about putting a player in the role that he is good at and can flourish in. We think that in the international matches we have seen him that he has grown week by week and plays with courage and a natural weight in his game. When the performance is also at a high level, we want to give him this opportunity, says Hallam.
“Drawn the age card”
Most things have gone right for Leo Carlsson ahead of the WC. Except for one thing. He does not get to keep his regular jersey with the number 91 on it.
That number has been given to Los Angeles forward Carl Grundström, and Carlsson will wear 21.
“They pulled the age card,” he says and laughs at the fact that it is age that determines when two players request the same jersey number.
But he quickly states about jersey number 21:
— There is pressure there. It will be fun, an honor to wear it.
When asked who was the best 21 in the national team of all time, he says:
— It’s probably Salming or “Foppa”, one of them. Jörgen Jönsson was also good.
Maybe Leo Carlsson will be mentioned among them in the future. He has been compared to Mats Sundin after art goals in the Junior crowns last fall.
In just over a month, at the end of June, he is expected to go high in the NHL draft. The Canadian Connor Bedard is the favorite to go as number one, in many rankings Leo Carlsson is placed third.
At the beginning of the week, the draft lottery was completed and Chicago selects first, then Anaheim and Columbus.
“You know it won’t be Chicago anyway,” he says with a smile and continues:
– It will be fun. I look forward to it. You get to see where you will be in the future. So it’s a pretty big deal.
Leo Carlsson has a contract with Örebro over the 2024-25 season, but with his rapid development recently, it wouldn’t be a big deal if he finds himself in North America already next season.
Before then, he will make WC history.
Source: nyheter24.se by nyheter24.se.
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