Ottawa Senators: Does Erik Karlsson Have a Legit Shot at the Norris?

Stephen Brown@@the__ste (Double Underscore)Correspondent IIJanuary 4, 2012

DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 01:  Erik Karlsson #65 of the Ottawa Senators at American Airlines Center on December 1, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Erik Karlsson has been taking the NHL by storm. At just 21 years of age, he has shown that he has all of the skills needed to be a top-tier defenceman in this league.

Through the first 40 games of the season, Karlsson has collected 37 points—tops in the NHL by six points (Brian Campbell is second with 31 points)—and has shown to be durable, playing over 25 minutes per game—good for 10th in the league.

One of the statistics that could hamper Karlsson’s Norris Trophy hope is his plus-minus. Although he remains in the positive at plus-one, other defencemen have better numbers, such as Shea Weber, who is third in points and is plus-14. Moreover, Weber has five power-play goals to Karlsson’s one.

It is evident that Karlsson needs to fine-tune his defensive play, as is the case with many young defencemen, but he has definitely improved as the season has progressed. If he continues to improve and maintains a huge lead in points, who can say he isn’t a leading candidate for the Norris?

As of now, it looks as if the Norris is Karlsson’s to lose, but this is only the first half of the season. There is still much hockey to be played. Don't get carried away, Senator fans.

Karlsson is one of the emerging defencemen in the game today, and as I discussed with a friend of mine, his value is at its peak right now.

What could the Sens get for him if they traded him today? The package would be absolutely ridiculous.

Just a thought.

Hope everyone had a great holiday.


Get at me on twitter @the__ste (Double Underscore)