The Anaheim Ducks have Leo Carlsson on a tight leash.
The 2023 No. 2 pick missed his second straight game Tuesday against the Columbus Blue Jackets as part of a series of planned scratches aiming to help the Ducks manage his workload in the first half of the season.
“I played in this league as a 19-year-old,” general manager Pat Verbeek recently explained to The Athletic’s Eric Stephens. “I kind of know at game 40, 42, somewhere in there, I hit a wall. It took me a while to kind of get through that wall, and I don’t want (Carlsson) to go through that.
“I want him to be a horse in the second half of the season. So, we’re going to manage his games for the next couple of months anyways.”
Carlsson watched from the press box as the Ducks lost to the Boston Bruins on Sunday, and he then missed his first opportunity to face off against Adam Fantilli, who the Blue Jackets took third overall at this year’s draft.
The Swede missed Anaheim’s first two games of the season due to a lower-body injury, but he made an instant impact with a goal in his debut Oct. 19 against the Dallas Stars.
Carlsson played in the Ducks’ next game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday. He registered four shots and saw 21:33 minutes of ice time.
The 18-year-old produced 10 goals and 25 points in 44 games with Orebro in Sweden’s top league last season. Carlsson also notched six points in seven games at the 2023 World Junior Championship, as well as three goals and two helpers in eight outings at this year’s World Championship.