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I NOW Consider Erik Karlsson A Hall Of Famer

I like to try to identify the point when a given NHL player reaches the point that he is good enough to make the Hockey Hall of Fame regardless of what happens in the rest of their careers.  Today I think Erik Karlsson has made it.  Karlsson is a two time Norris Trophy winner, having won the award in 2012 and 2015.  Every player who is Hall of fame eligible who has won multiple Norris Trophies is in the Hall of Fame.  There are a couple of eligible players who have won the award once who have been eligible for the Hall for many years and have not been inducted and probably never will be.  Thus winning one Norris Trophy does not guarantee induction.  Winning two probably is enough - at least if the player has a full successful career.  There is room potentially for a player to win two Norris Trophies and then fade away almost immediately and hence not make the Hall of Fame.  Erik Karlsson must show that he is not that case to be a Hall of Famer.

Karlsson has to show that he is having a strong season this year and I would consider him a Hall of Famer.  He is doing that.  With the season nearing its mid-point and nearing Christmas he is the top scoring defenceman in the league.  He is my current pick for the 2016 Norris Trophy lead.  In the unlikely event that the rest of his season falls apart, this is enough to show that he is having a solid season in addition to his two Norris Trophies.

Karlsson is only 25 years old.  A player must be an incredible talent to cement a Hall of Fame career by this young an age.  Karlsson is likely to be remembered as one of the best defencemen ever if he manages a healthy career at this rate.  He gets criticism because he does not play the most defensive style - much like Paul Coffey and to a degree Bobby Orr did before him.  People are trying to compare him to their conception of a perfect two-way defenceman and although Karlsson is a solid player in his own zone, he has more value offensively than he does defensively.  These people would be better off enjoying the play of a significant talent who has more overall value than any other defenceman in the game.

Karlsson is the thirteenth player on my current Hall of Famer list and the youngest one - taking that spot from Sidney Crosby.  Here it is:

Zdeno Chara
Sidney Crosby
Pavel Datsyuk
Marian Hossa
Jarome Iginla
Jaromir Jagr
Erik Karlsson
Duncan Keith
Ilya Kovalchuk
Roberto Luongo
Evgeni Malkin
Alexander Ovechkin
Joe Thornton

I expect that more players will be added to this list as hockey is played this season.  There is no player that looks to be on the verge of retirement right now, so I expect this list to grow a bit before it shrinks.

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Comments

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Not even close yet in my opinion. He’s a great talent, but other than the Norris trophies what has he accomplished? He’s only made it to the second round of the playoffs once and he’s a career minus player, even with all the points he’s scoring.

If his career were to end tomorrow he’d be remembered as a guy with amazing potential that didn’t get a chance to accomplish much. He could definitely make it someday, but IMO he hasn’t done much anything yet.

I also dislike how Norris voting tends to go to the defenseman with the most points rather then the best overall defenseman - but that’s an argument for another day.

Posted by Stza on 12/23/15 at 12:01 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

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Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com