Making The Grade – Erik Karlsson



Erik Karlsson was on an upward trend in his career path, but there were still some glaring weaknesses in his game heading into 2011-12.  He had a solid 45 point season the previous year, but a -30 rating showed that he needed to shore up defensively.


How long do you have?  Karlsson may have just had the best individual season in the 20 year history of the Ottawa Senators.  In just his third season, Karlsson tied for the league lead in goals by a defenseman (also tying the club record set in year 1 of the franchise).  He lapped the field when it came to points from the blue line, as his 78 points was 26 more than 2nd best.  He had more votes than any other player for the NHL All-Star game, finished in the top 10 overall scoring and to top it all off, he won the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman.   You can read more about my take on Karlssons epic season HERE.


With such an incredible season under his belt, it is tough to pinpoint any true low.  I guess being held to a single point in the seven game playoff loss to the Rangers.  It wasn’t for lack of trying, as despite the Rangers stifling shot blocking regime Karlsson managed 31 shots in the series.


Simply put, 19 goals, 59 assists for 78 points and a +16 rating, with his numbers being remarkably similar on the home and on the road.


I would hate to be Captain Obvious, but it goes without saying that he has set the bar incredibly high for himself.  With the season he put up, the only possible grade could be: