Report: Canucks after NCAA defenceman Christian Folin

UPDATE: According to an update from the same website, Folin has declined the offer on the table and decided to return to school for at least one more year.

***

You already know Christian Folin, in a sense. He’s big, at 6’4″ and 214 pounds. He’s Swedish, hailing from Gothenburg, hometown of Daniel Alfredsson, Loui Eriksson, Viktor Stalberg, and Swedish Batman. And he’s a two-way defender that sees the ice well, has decent mobility, and boasts a booming slapshot.

In other words, he’s Matthias Ohlund and Alex Edler.

So you can see why the Canucks might have some interest in him — he fits an archetype with which they seem to do well. Add to the mix the fact that he’s right-handed and he’s he’s an NCAA prospect, having just finished his first season at UMass-Lowell, and you can see why the Canucks might get all moony at the sight of him. You’d think they developed him in a lab.

They didn’t, but according to Mr. Madhawk, a Swedish hockey insider (the type with one “R” — he’s far more Darren Dreger than Eklund), they’ll soon be developing him in their system. The Canucks are reportedly close to convincing the big blueliner to leave university after his freshman year at UMass Lowell and join their prospect pool. From Mr. Madhawk, via our friends at the comedy website, Google Translate:

Fresh data MrMadhawk.se obtain through the evening and night reveals that Folin, who spent the last three seasons in North America, the latest in college and NCAA team UMass-Lowell has an NHL deal extremely close. Reportedly, Ottawa previously shown interest. But now it’s about another Canadian team, namely the Vancouver Canucks. Folin should be close to signing a two-way contract over two years.

What is interesting here is that this is a player who never played in the top division either or headlines.As thus is very close to sign an NHL contract. Now it will probably be mostly AHL games for the 22-year-old Swede. But he will of course get the chance to show off in front of club management during camp and during a friendly match, on the same terms as the other.

It is not entirely clear. However, one is very close to a deal. It is quite an advanced stage. Folin has reportedly hesitated on whether he wanted to interrupt their college studies, but now it seems to stand the case.

Ottawa and Vancouver battling it out for a Swedish defenceman? Sounds about right to me.

Folin has been hesitant to leave the NCAA so soon, which may have scared off other potential suitors.

“I just want to get better and in three years I want to be ready for whatever may come,” he told the Austin Daily Herald back in April. “I think if I keep working hard for the next three years, (the NHL) can happen. But a lot can happen in three years, so I’m not counting on it.”

It’s not surprising that he might balk at the idea of dropping out. After all, while the NHL has always been a pie-in-the-sky dream for Folin, he left Sweden for the States to get a free education after seeing his friend Viktor Stalberg have success with that route.

“There comes a time when you realize that you won’t be able to play hockey forever,” he told Hockey Buzz. “For me, it was when I had to work one summer and I hated it. I worked in shipping and handling – just moving big boxes – and I realized that I didn’t want to do that the rest of my life and that I needed to be prepared for life after hockey and get a good education,” he explained.

Thus, when his Swedish junior eligibility ran out, Folin went stateside, looking to play his way into a university scholarship.

The plan was a success. He played 12 games with the USHL’s Fargo Force before being traded to the NAHL’s Austin Bruins (who picked him up at a gas station on their way to a game), and his play in Austin led to a free ride at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. In his freshman season at UMass-Lowell, Folin was excellent, putting up 6 goals and 15 assists in 38 games from the back-end. In the NCAA tournament, he played a major role his club’s run to the Frozen Four, where they were defeated by Yale, the eventual champions, in overtime.

And now he’s being courted by the NHL.

It’s a big decision for Folin. As he said himself, you never know what can happen in three years. He could turn down the deal and get his education, only to regress in his play (or worse, get injured) and never have NHL teams beating down his door again. Or he could turn pro now, only to plateau and play out his entry-level deal without ever making the jump to the bigs. Three years from now, he could be without a contract and a diploma.

Tough call. But he has to make it eventually. We’ll keep you updated when he does.

Before we go, here’s an interview with Folin from the postgame of his team’s Round 1 win in the NCAA tournament. He’s the 2nd guy. Of note: he apparently struggled with the language barrier when he crossed the Atlantic in 2010. Three years later, he sounds like he’s been here for over a decade:

And finally, here’s some advanced scouting from Ryan Lambert, NCAA hockey aficionado:

 

Welp, I’m sold.

6 comments

  1. Nee
    June 8, 2013

    Bob McKenzie tweeted the other day that his sources had said that Canucks haven’t talked to him. Then again, Bob is currently in cottage country somewhere so maybe he’s a little out of the loop. : )

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  2. Kelvin Yu
    June 8, 2013

    I think learning to speak languages quickly and fluently is the Swedish racial ability.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  3. Lenny
    June 8, 2013

    Swedish education system does a very good job in teaching English. Also, I’m glad the franchise is doing whatever they can to seek out new talents.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  4. Mt
    June 10, 2013

    I always like a college signing. Not much downside to picking up unsigned kids.

    Also, that dude has had accent coaching. Hopefully he keeps it up and becomes the first Swede to sound like he’s from Boston.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  5. Fred65
    June 10, 2013

    Surely this can be sorted out quickly by guarenteeing him the equivalent to a 3 year scholarship to complet his education should he wish. At 22 how many years of elgibility does he have left assuming he’s a freshman

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  6. Sandra
    June 10, 2013

    He did an interview with HockeySverige.se and said that he’s staying in school. He also said that he had about 10 NHL teams inviting him to their training camps and Canucks weren’t one of them. And the only contact he had with Ottawa was that his former teammate Robin Lehner asked if he wanted to participate in their training camp.

    http://www.hockeysverige.se/article/14506118/kanner-mig-inte-redo-for-nhl

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)