Ottawa Senators: Karlsson is a Historically Great Defenceman

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 25: Erik Karlsson
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 25: Erik Karlsson /

Everybody knows that Erik Karlsson has been a dominant force for the Ottawa Senators for years. The only question is how dominant has he been compared to some of the other great defenceman in history?

When Karlsson was first drafted he was seen as a risky pick. Some went as far to say drafting him at 15th overall was a waste of pick. The pundits believed that the Sens would regret this pick in a few years. They could not have been more wrong. Karlsson has dominated the league since his entry. Having already won two Norris trophies and being a finalist two other times, Karlsson has shown a tremendous level of skill. He is not just considered the best defenceman but a top five player in the league.

Historical Comparables

In terms of what he brings to the Ottawa Senators he leads the way both offensively and defensively. With the Sens lacking a bonafide superstar forward, Karlsson has led the team in scoring for four years. That’s not a knock on any of the Sens’ forwards but rather a compliment to Karlsson. Leading his team in scoring four times is not just good, it’s historically great.

Only three defenceman in NHL history have led their team in scoring more than twice. Ray Bourque did it five times with the Bruins. Karlsson has led the Sens in scoring four times so far. Rounding out the three is Denis Potvin who led the Islanders in scoring four times. Going into next season it looks like Karlsson should lead the team in scoring once again. This would tie him for first all time with Bourque. Now it should be noted that these stats are not necessarily an indication of certain players being superior to others. After all Bobby Orr only led his team in scoring once and he’s the best defenceman of all time. However it does indicate that the players at the top of the list are among the greats.

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Final Thoughts

Karlsson is one of the most dominant forces in the league. He’s on pace to be one of the best defenceman of all time. At the age of 27 he still has a long time to pad his resume. The Ottawa Senators should enjoy him every year they can because they’re watching an all time great.