On Thursday night, the Blackhawks and Canucks swapped defensemen, as Chicago traded prospect Adam Clendening to Vancouver for Gustav Forsling.
At the 2015 World Junior Championship, Forsling, 18, led all defensemen with eight points (three goals, five assists) in seven games and was named a tournament All Star as a member of Team Sweden.
In regular season play, he has five points in 35 games with Linkoping of the Swedish Hockey League this season, where he is a teammate of Hawks prospect defenseman Carl Dahlstrom (second round pick in 2013).
Forsling was selected by Canucks in the fifth round (126th overall) of the 2014 draft. In the team’s statement about the trade, General Manager Stan Bowman said this about Forsling:
“We are excited to add Gustav to a strong group of young talent in our organization,” Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman in a statement. “He was one of the best players at the World Junior Championships a few weeks ago and this season has emerged as a regular contributor in the top professional league in Sweden. He’s an offensive defenseman that plays very well on the power play and has a big shot.”
Gustav Forsling showed his very good puck-moving abilities, and while he’s certainly an offensively tilted defenseman, and certainly made a number of defensive miscues, he also wasn’t a complete liability defensively, and was able to make stops on good forwards. He could end up being one of Vancouver’s better late-round picks of the past decade, an area where they have not had the best track record.
In October, Pronman said that “Forsling was Sweden’s go-to defenseman on the power play at last year’s under-18 World Championships, leading the tournament in goals among defenders. Forsling has been fourth in average ice time among Linkoping players, and is tied for the scoring lead among under-20 defensemen in the SHL… His size and defensive play are mediocre, but he’s such a skilled puck mover. One can dream on the his offensive potential if he continues to develop.”
Clendening, 22, was a second round pick by the Hawks in 2011. After posting 59 points in 74 games last season, he had registered only one goal and 12 assists in 38 this season. Once the top defensive prospect in the organization, the blue line in Rockford became crowded when TJ Brennan and Ville Pokka were added in the Nick Leddy trade.