Ottawa Senators Greatest Players: Number – 1 Erik Karlsson

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

The day is finally here that we recognize the greatest player in Ottawa Senators history. The generational talent, the superstar defenceman, the captain of the Ottawa Senators, Erik Karlsson.

There will be many who disagree on the ranking of Karlsson over Alfredsson. At this point they are fairly interchangeable. They both belong this high on the list for their own reasons. They are without a doubt the two greatest players in Ottawa Senators history. However, there is no denying that Erik Karlsson is the best player to ever play for the Sens, and I believe he’s been with the team long enough and built enough of a legacy to be considered the greatest.

When Karlsson came to the Sens it was as the 15th overall pick in 2008. Many critics were upset about this pick. Management was selecting an undersized defenceman with question marks in the middle of the first round over other more proven talent. However, as it turns out, the Sens made the best pick they could have. If that draft were to be redone, Karlsson would be picked first. He would go before Stamkos and before Doughty because Karlsson is truly generational.

Becoming A Superstar

Karlsson’s first season in Ottawa was 2009-2010. Over his first two seasons he began to establish himself as a star offensive defenceman. In just his second year he had 45 points in 75 games. However, it was 2011-2012 that he truly made his mark. In 81 games Karlsson put up a massive 78 points and won his first Norris Trophy.

The following season he would miss most of the season due to an injury to his achilles tendon. However, after that season he would take his game to even greater heights. In the past four seasons he would put up 74, 66, 82, and 71 points. This would include his second Norris Trophy in 2015 as well as runner up finishes in both 2016 and 2017. Additionally, both runner up finishes were met with criticism by the analytics community as it was widely believed that Karlsson deserved the trophy on both occasions.

In addition, to trophies, Karlsson aligned himself with historical greats. In 2016 with 82 points he became the first defenceman in 30 years to finish top five in league scoring. The last defenceman to do this was Paul Coffey during his time with Wayne Gretzky. That year with 66 he also became the first defenceman to lead the league in assists since Bobby Orr did over 40 years ago.

Next: Ottawa Senators Greatest Players: Number – 2 Daniel Alfredsson

Historically Dominant

Karlsson’s historic season and one of his Norris Trophy victories were achieved while being the captain of the Ottawa Senators. Named in 2014 after the departure of Jason Spezza, Karlsson has now been captain for three years. All of which were among the best by a defenceman in years. Karlsson is the greatest player to ever wear an Ottawa Senators uniform and when his career is done he could be among the best three defencemen to ever play in the NHL.