The reasoning seemed sound when it came to Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson’s most recent assignment to the Providence Bruins.
The next man up in Boston’s pursuit of a stable pivot to solve the secondary scoring woes that have plagued the club all season long — Forsbacka Karlsson was counted on to bring his reliable, two-way game up to the big club after close to 70 games in the AHL over the last two seasons.
Through nine games with the Bruins, “JFK” chipped in a pair of goals while seeing time both on the third line and up top with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.
But the one area of his game that always seems to hamper the promising forward up in the NHL — falling into lapses of tepid play — continued to creep back into Forsbacka Karlsson’s game with the added reps.
Sure, Forsbacka Karlsson more than had his hands full in his last two outings with Boston — primarily matched up against two of the top centers in the game in John Tavares and Sidney Crosby.
But Forsbacka Karlsson’s effectiveness in the offensive zone was largely muted, even though 70 percent of all of his zone starts were in the offensive zone.
Forsbacka Karlsson doesn’t project as the next Patrik Laine, of course, but the center only landed three shots on goal over 106 minutes of ice time — with plenty of that TOI starting in the opposing team’s zone.
Before getting demoted from the top line during Boston’s loss to Toronto on Nov. 26, Forsbacka Karlsson and Boston’s top wingers took a beating against the Leafs’ big guns — with Boston posting a 30.00 Corsi For Percentage when both JFK and Pastrnak were out on the ice together (4:57 TOI).
Meanwhile, Forsbacka Karlsson’s bread and butter was also stuck in a rut, with the center only winning 33 percent of his draws at the faceoff dot.
Given the inconsistent play — to coincide with getting tabbed as a healthy scratch for back-to-back games following the Toronto tilt — it didn’t come as much of a surprise when Boston opted to send Forsbacka Karlsson down to Providence on Sunday to work on his craft.
But after just one game back with the Baby B’s, JFK found himself back up with Boston on Monday morning, taking part in morning skate and joining the club for its upcoming road trip down to Florida.
It hasn’t been an easy transition at times for Forsbacka Karlsson up in the NHL ranks, but given Boston’s drought of tangible talent at center, the onus is on the 22-year-old skater to get back on track up with the Bruins — no small task for a still-developing forward.