Sens fans would know better than me, but I think Karlsson is much better suited to defense despite his offensive instincts. His release isn't that quick and I imagine he sees the ice much better from the back end.
Top notch skating though, makes me wonder how many points he'd get as a winger.
Was going to say him also. He IMO has to be one of if not the fastest skater in the league but he will never be able to prove it since he is not on the ASG roster. He can stick handle and has a good shot to boot.
Karlsson would be a pretty bad forward. He wouldn't have the time/space to set up the play.
I think Jim O'brien got drafted after his first year at forward (from playing D the years before), so I guess he is a success story. Enforcers have a shot at making the switch, Carkner was able to go between 4th line and 3rd pairing, same with Schubert IIRC. Typically top end players are too attached/good at their position to bother trying to learn another.
It's not always offensive d-men that log significant minutes on forward lines. I recall a hard-nosed stay-at-home guy for the Avalanche about a decade ago named Jon Klemm who played a lot of forward minutes including the year they won the cup. A little more recently I recall a young German on the Senators named Christoph Schubert who played quite a bit as a forward and he also was more a 'well-rounded' than offensive-minded. And there's always Mathieu Dandeneault or was he a forward converted to D....?
Seriously though, I'd hold off a little longer before declaring this a success. Burns looked okay as a forward for a brief moment with the Wild, but then it failed. Although the circumstances were a bit different, so who knows.....