After the 2011-12 NHL season, Erik Karlsson had emerged as the league’s premiere offensive defenceman. In only his second season in the league, the entertaining Swede tallied 78 points in 81 games, outscoring many prominent forwards. Karlsson was crowned Norris trophy winner for his excellent numbers.
Nick Lidstrom’s retirement from the NHL in the summer of 2012 seemed perfectly timed with the emergence of the next superstar Swede to patrol an NHL blue line. But last year was rough for EK. He suffered a vicious Achilles injury that I’m sure you’ve heard about (watch it here).
Karlsson missed most of the 48 game lockout induced schedule of 2012-13, thus, relinquishing his hold on the Norris, and reputation as the best offensive defenceman in hockey.
P. K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens put in a strong claim as the league’s top offensive threat from the line. The Habs power-shooter scored 38 points last season tying him for the scoring lead amongst all NHL defenceman. He shared the top spot in defenceman points with Kris Letang of the Penguins who earned the same final point count in seven less contests.
Subban is great. Letang is great. But Karlsson is back to separating himself from the pack. After a slow start to the season for him and his club, the Sens’ franchise player has compiled 3 goals and 4 assists in his last 3 games. Karlsson holds down 1st in defenceman scoring with 17 points after 15 games played.
Karlsson’s numbers place him in the top 10 among all scorers in the National Hockey League. Even last season’s Art Ross winner Martin St. Louis has less points than the Senators boss from the back end.
Karlsson discussed the possibility of lingering effects from the Achilles injury with Ken Warren of Senators Extra dot com. Regarding how his Achilles feels, Karlsson said:
“I think it’s definitely better than it was at the start of the season, but I still think I need to work hard at it and give it time.”
Quote courtesy of Senators Extra dot com. Read full article here.
The Senators return to action tonight against the Montreal Canadiens in a showdown between two of the most praised blueliners in hockey. Erik Karlsson and P. K. Subban face-off tonight in Ottawa.