Erik Karlsson: Ottawa Senators Sign Norris Trophy Finalist to 7-Year Contract

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IJune 19, 2012

UNIONDALE, NY - APRIL 01: Erik Karlsson #65 of the Ottawa Senators skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on April 1, 2012 in Uniondale, New York. The Senators defeated the Islanders 5-1.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Ottawa Senators have signed All-Star defenseman Erik Karlsson to a new seven-year contract, according to the team's official Twitter account.

BREAKING: #Sens agree to terms with Erik Karlsson on a seven-year contract extension. Details to follow.

— Ottawa Senators (@NHL_Sens) June 19, 2012

According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the deal has a yearly salary cap hit of $6.5 million per season.

Wow, that didn't take long on the Karlsson contract. 7 years, annual cap hit of $6.5M.

— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 19, 2012

This is a great move for the Senators to lock up their young Norris Trophy-caliber defenseman for the foreseeable future.

Karlsson's offensive output this past season was absolutely fantastic. His 78 points were 25 more than the second-highest scoring defenseman in the NHL this season.

Last year, the 22-year-old Swede improved his points total by 19, and this 2011-12 season, he improved his point total by 33. The most important improvement, however, was his plus-minus rating, which went from minus-30 in 2010-11 to plus-16 this year, a staggering 46-point turnaround.

Karlsson might win his first Norris Trophy in the upcoming NHL Awards ceremony, but even if he doesn't, there is no question he will be a top candidate for the award at least over the next decade.