Is Erik Karlsson The Best Player in the NHL?

I barely knew who this guy was a few years ago but oh my God.

  1. Karlsson leads all NHL defencemen with 57 points. That’s one thing, but bear in mind he leads my a margin of 17. Nobody else has more than 40 (Brian Campbell.)

  2. Is he just piling up power play points? Nope; he has 10 more even strength points than any other defenceman.

  3. Karlsson is +14 on a team that’s +4, making him 10 goals better than his own team (a rough measure, I know, but it’s telling) which is extremely high; I can’t offhand find any other defenceman on the scoring leaders with a delta like that. (There may be a few; I can’t do a decent search.)

  4. Just watching him, he’s sensational. He does everything well. The Senators with him on the ice are a dangerous team that moves the puck quickly and attacks with gusto; when he’s sitting, they don’t look good at all.

I love the Sens and he’s amazing, but I won’t say the best in the NHL. He’s up there, though. He’s curbed his HUGE defensive gaffes from last year (he must have had one of the worst +/- in the NHL last year), but you still see them crop up from time to time, particularly when the Sens fortunes go dry, as they have for a few stretches this year.

If he plays out the rest of the season like it is now, I think he should win the Norris, hands down, though.

He was -30, which is very bad, third worst in the NHL, but his TEAM was -58, so it’s not as bad as it first appears; he was a bit worse than his team but not by as much as you might think.

The worst in the NHL last year? His teammate, Chris Phillips, was -35.

By way of comparison, last year Todd Bertuzzi was a -7. In context, that’s just as bad as Karlsson and maybe worse, because Bertuzzi was playing on a team that was collectively +20.

Jeeze. Way to prove me wrong last night.

I guess Paul MacLean knows how to turn a Swede into Nick Lidstrom, eh?

That pass on the Michalek goal had my jaw hanging open. That was one of the best plays I’ve seen all year.