Puckin' Around With Spector
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In only his third NHL season, Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson is quickly becoming one of the league’s elite blueliners.
A smooth-skating, puck-moving defenseman, the 21-year-old Karlsson is having the best season of his young NHL career. As of February 22, his 43 assists and 57 points already exceed the 32 assists and 45 points of his sophomore season, placing him atop the league leaders in points for blueliners by a wide margin.
Karlsson’s performance is among the key factors in the Senators surprising season, as they continue to confound pre-season expectations by remaining in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race.
He’s become the offensive blueliner they’ve been lacking since Wade Redden’s salad days, and if he stays healthy, will easily break the team record for most points in a season by a Senators defenseman (63).
Team owner Eugene Melnyk was ebullient in recent praise for the young Swede, telling a Toronto radio station Karlsson could “go down in history with great defenseman of all time”.
High praise indeed, but also strong ammunition for Karlsson’s agent to use in contract negotiations with GM Bryan Murray at season’s end.