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If Leo Carlsson somehow finds himself still on the board when the Habs speak at pick #5, it will be a surprise to many experts on the topic. Yet, some noise is being made that Columbus may select Will Smith and San Jose might take the home run swing on Matvei Michkov. Should this occur, the Habs will find themselves in a similar situation to when they drafted Cole Caufield where an extremely skilled player falls onto their lap and management can simply smile, take the gift, and run.

Carlsson is described as a player with real top-line potential if not a generational talent. He is a gifted offensive player that also takes care of his own end, so a perfect fit for the highly demanding Montreal market and the Canadiens’ fifth overall pick in this draft.


Shoots: Left
DOB: December 26, 2004
Height: 6′ 3″
Weight: 194 lbs


Elite Prospects: 3
Future Considerations: 4
Daily Faceoff: 4
The Hockey News: 3
TSN (Bob McKenzie): 3
TSN (Craig Button): 3
NHL Central Scouting (European): 1
Sportsnet: 3
Recruit Scouting: 6
Dobber Prospects: 4
Draft Prospects Hockey: 4
Smaht Scouting: 3


Scouting Report

While Carlsson was never compared to Connor Bedard, he is now being compared to Michkov. This is simply because both had productive seasons playing in elite men’s leagues outside the NHL. Michkov is still believed to have a higher ceiling, but where both players end up might be much closer than their respective ceilings suggest. Carlsson is a big body who should thrive on the North American ice and the NHL’s style of play. His game is currently far more mature than Michkov’s and so one can easily conclude that the floor is simply more secure for Carlsson.

Last season, Carlsson totalled 42 points in 69 games fanned out over some SHL action where he was less productive, Orebro (J18 and J20) where he was a near 2PPG player, and the junior tournaments. He was far more comfortable playing in the elite league this season where he scored 25 points in 44 games, before taking over in the playoffs with nine points in 13 games.

When it comes to offensive production, Carlsson’s main attribute that scouts rave about is his ability to do it all. He has the hands to get around a defender, the power to drive the middle and go through a defender, and the IQ to see a play develop and opt for the soft-handed pass. His advanced stats are nothing to scoff at either as his five-on-five metrics show him surpassing Lucas Raymond in both expected goals and assists for recent European prospects.

One weakness that does stand out when watching Carlsson is his shot. While he does have a quick release, he will definitely have to work and firing a harder shot toward NHL goaltenders. While it is surely something that can be worked on, it currently lacks power and unpredictability. He thrives closer to the net where he can tip pucks in or collect some garbage for important points (which speaks to his dominant playoff stats).


Looking at the only season of drafting this current regime has undertaken, the Habs seem intent on keeping players close to home and having a big hand of control over their development. This isn’t surprising considering it was one of the focal points of the introductory press conferences for both Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes.

In that respect, Carlsson once again fits what the organization appears to want to do in both scouting and development since he can come over to North America immediately. He has pro experience and has thrived under playoff pressure. A stint with Adam Nicholas might be all that is lacking for Carlsson to find that next gear and have an immediate impact on the roster. With both Nick Suzuki and Kirby Dach poised to take shifts up the middle to start the season, and Owen Beck also knocking on the door, Carlsson might be able to do so without the immense pressure of doing it as a centre, or under the immense pressure to produce immediately faced by previous top picks Alex Galchenyuk, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and Juraj Slafkovsky. Who are we kidding, this is Montreal, of course, he’ll have to get used to the limelight and the constant pressure of the market should he be the Habs selection.