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Chicago Blackhawks Future Friday: Gustav Forsling

By Mario Tirabassi
The Chicago Blackhawks signed 19-year old acquired Gustav Forsling in January of 2015 from the Canucks. Now he figures to be a key part of the future at the defensive position for Chicago for year's to come. (Photo: USA TODAY)
The Chicago Blackhawks signed 19-year old acquired Gustav Forsling in January of 2015 from the Canucks. Now he figures to be a key part of the future at the defensive position for Chicago for year's to come. (Photo: USA TODAY) /
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Blackhawks Get The Better Of Forsling For Clendening Trade

When the Chicago Blackhawks made the trade in January of 2015 to acquire Gustav Forsling from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Adam Clendening, the organization was trying to gain youth and promise at the defensive position as Clendening was finding trouble making his mark

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with the Blackhawks and crack the Chicago top-six. After Clendening made his way to Vancouver, Anaheim, and Edmonton, the trade seemed to go heavily in favor of Chicago as Forsling has been making quite the impression on the international hockey scene.

For your consideration, take a look at what Forsling was able to do at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship for Team Sweden as an 18-year old:

While his game still is raw, Forsling shows a lot of promise for the Blackhawks organization moving forward and Chicago sees it too, having just signed Forsling to his entry-level deal on  May 11.

Forsling A Force To Reckon With In Sweden

Since Forsling has started his journey to the NHL, has played with only one organization in Sweden, Linköping HC, playing in their U16, U18 , and U20 development teams before making the jump to the professional SHL level in 2014. In his two professional seasons with Linköping, Forsling has played in 86 games and has tallied up 27 points (9 Goals, 18 Assists), while leading his club to fourth and third place finishes in the SHL respectively.

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Forsling being a part of Team Sweden has been most where his impressive success has been seen on a larger scale.  He played for Sweden’s gold medal-winning U17 squad at the 2013 World Hockey Challenge in Canada and led all defensemen in goals at the 2014 World Junior Championships. At the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Forsling was selected in the fifth round 126th overall, by the Vancouver Canucks.

At the 2015 World Junior Championship, Forsling led all defensemen in scoring and was named to the tournament’s All-Star team alongside players like Max Domi, Connor McDavid, and Sam Reinhart. In total, Forsling has played in 103 games since 2012 and has scored 63 points (28 Goals, 35 Assists) while playing for his country.

Future Projection

For Forsling to crack into the top-six of the Blackhawks’ defensive core may take a while. As stated before, his game is still raw and developing, as would be expected of a 19-year old player. Forsling brings a lot of offensive potential to his game as he is not afraid to join the rush and regularly sees time on his team’s power-play unit.

Playing at 5’11”, 180 pounds, Forsling is smaller in stature for the typical NHL defenseman and plays a more agile, puck control type of game. With time he can add some bulk and strength to deal with the NHL level of battling that goes with the defensive position, but many see him developing into a Torey Krug-type player.

If Forsling can continue to excel on the international scene, and with his new deal with Chicago allowing them to bring him States-side for the 2016-17 season, don’t be surprised to see Forlsing make his North American debut with the organization this year and play a good number of games with the Rockford IceHogs and then see where he can go from there.

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