Erik Karlsson is on fire at a historic pace in the NHL – Ossi Väänänen recalls the trick that confused the Joker players

Erik Karlsson is on fire at a historic pace in

Ice hockey player Erik Karlsson, 32, in the case it is necessary to set off ahead of the power points. The Swedish hero, who represents the San Jose Sharks in the NHL, has scored at an incredible pace as the season progresses: after 46 games, Karlsson has 62 (15+47) entries in his column.

The current pace would take Karlsson to an unimaginable 109 points for a defender.

NHL history knows only two defenders who have reached this point, Bobby Orr and Paul Coffey. Since Orr last broke the 109-point mark in 1974-75, it has been accomplished only twice by Coffey in 47 years — the last time in 1988-89.

The most confusing thing in Karlsson’s case is that he has scored more points in even fives than any other player in the NHL this season. In the more than 100-year history of the NHL, this has been achieved once by defenseman Bobby Orr.

It is also worth noting that Karlsson is playing at this level at the age of 32 after a very serious leg injury. NHL history doesn’t know a single defenseman who, at the age of 30, scored 100 points. To reach this point, Världens Bästa needs to score 38 points in the 36 remaining matches. It’s completely realistic.

Karlsson’s return to the absolute top of the sport has even come as a bit of a surprise, because in the past few years he has not played at the current level or at the level of his Ottawa years. A particularly severe ankle injury stopped me from going earlier.

– He had serious problems with his ankle for a long time and it made it difficult to play. He did manage and was able to play, but it took a lot of percentages away from what he was doing. Now the ankle doesn’t seem to bother me anymore, and I think that’s one of the major reasons for this new arrival, former NHL defenseman, closely following the NHL Ossi Väänänen says.

Another significant change has to do with San Jose’s roster. Star defender by Brent Burns the move to Carolina seems to have freed up Karlsson to play.

– It was its own era when they were there alone. It’s always a bit of a strange situation if the team has two big players in the same position, a bit like two cocks in a row. Now Karlsson is lord and hidalgo in San Jose.

– Such players want to feel responsibility, trust and demand, Väänänen continues.

Urheilu’s hockey expert is on the same lines Ismo Lehkonen.

– They ate each other’s snacks there, Lehkonen downloads.

– Now Karlsson has the full license of the coach to play even a little shallow and poor.

“Takes really big risks”

Sinking rich and very poor indeed. When thinking about what enables a defender to accumulate such numbers, the importance of gambling should not be underestimated. Karlsson is an exceptional individual in terms of movement, skill levels and game head. Of these, especially the ice-cold head has enabled exceptional scores in a long career.

In Karlsson’s case, a cool head often means confident risk-taking.

The Swedish star constantly plays with a small advantage, sniffing out superior attacks and scoring opportunities. If the opportunity opens, the numbers on the statistics lines usually start to change. On the other side of the coin is the reality where the risk materializes in the other direction, and there is no readiness to defend.

To understand Erik Karlsson, you have to understand his soul landscape as a player.

Karlsson also drives boldly against the blue lines or sneaks into situations from the background as a fourth attacker, whether there is backup in the situation or not. On the other hand, this is exactly what makes Karlsson a dangerous player and sometimes difficult to defend in the attacking area, but sometimes the risk pays off in your own end.

– He sometimes takes really big risks, sometimes they pay off and sometimes they don’t. He’s not a stress type either, from what I’ve seen of him in the past. He just plays, Väänänen refers to the 2012-2013 NHL lockout season, when Karlsson represented the Jokers.

– During the joker year, he went to Ottawa on break to take care of things for 11 days, and he didn’t take any stuff with him. I don’t think he even broke a sweat there once. The return was for the morning of the game day, but the flight was late and he came straight to the game, where he hit 1+5. Yes, it was like, what the hell. Just describes the naturalness of his playing, Väänänen laughs.

It is also the case that the modern NHL game has called Erik Karlsson especially strongly. Karlsson has a better reputation in his own area, but at the same time a player who has used to save a large part of his energy for attacking. This fits even a slightly carefree NHL game well at times.

– Totally agree, the game has definitely come to Karlsson. You also have to remember that the Paks are often only ready at the age of 28 and Karlsson previously gave a handicap when he skied for a long time on one leg. Today’s end-to-end game suits him perfectly, says Lehkonen.

Weaknesses in your area

You still can’t talk about Karlsson without bringing up problems in defensive play. Of course, it must be said that the 32-year-old Karlsson is also better at defending than his reputation – especially when he wants to. Karlsson uses his stick when breaking passes and occasionally covers his own mistakes in a model way.

Even the advanced statistics do not create an image of Karlsson as a player who would leak in the mentioned way. No, even if San Jose is a losing team. If you look at the goal expectations created by the opponents while Karlsson is on the field, this revolves most cheerfully in the same places Sidney Crosby, Alexander Barkov and Artturi Lehkonen with – all known as very conscientious players.

Of course, there have also been quite weak performances from time to time, especially when playing defense in one’s own area. When Dallas sought an equalizer with six men on Thursday, Karlsson didn’t even try to stop Jason Robertson at the end. This allowed the puck to be served in peace to the best goal-scoring sector. Karlsson’s departure was chaotic in his last change anyway.

However, the flimsy exchange shown above ended with a service point for the Swede.

– He is better than his reputation in the game of his own head, but yes, especially in the last years, he seemed to be quite frugal in his own, Väänänen remembers.

On the other hand, Karlsson compensates a lot on the move. He could be better at defending, but wants to save energy for attacking, Väänänen believes.

– A player like that needs to be given a little bit of fun, so that he doesn’t have to constantly twist and wrestle there, Lehkonen adds.

All the same, there is perhaps a better Karlsson in the attacking direction than ever before and it is worth enjoying.

– He is a player who does not need to force anything. When many players in that match rush before the match think about how the body feels and whether the leg is heavy today or not, for Karlsson such things are not a problem. When he’s in a good mood and likes what he’s doing, he’s capable of miracles, Väänänen concludes.