It was a bit surprising, given the conversation Brown and Otters GM Sherry Bassin had with Karlsson on Friday in Lake Placid, N.Y., where Karlsson was playing for Sweden in the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp.
Brown said they made what he believed to be a strong pitch to Karlsson.
Besides that, Karlsson’s agents and officials from the Arizona Coyotes have said they wanted Karlsson in Erie. “At that point, I could have thought it was better than 50-50,” Brown said, referring to the odds of Karlsson committing to the Otters. “He seemed upbeat and optimistic.”
The Otters still hold out hope. Brown said Karlsson signed with Skelleftea’s Junior U20 team, not the professional club. So they will “continue to work.”
If it doesn’t work, Brown called losing Karlsson would be a bit of a setback. But the club would move forward with the players they have. Brown confirmed that CHL 2nd-round pick Igor Vladykovsky will report to camp (he apparently attended the Otters’ recent conditioning camp) as well as the signing of 2014 OHL 3rd0-round pick Shaun Bily.
Expect an announcement early next week on a few more signings, presumably from the 2013 and 2014 draft classes…
- Victor Fernandes