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Pittsburgh Penguins Defenseman Erik Karlsson carries the puck in a home game.
Photo credit: The Daily Faceoff

Erik Karlsson Silences his Critics

Published January 21, 2024 at 2:23 PM
BY RYAN SCOTT

Erik Karlsson's Time in Pittsburgh

In the off-season, Penguins GM Kyle Dubas shocked the hockey world with a blockbuster trade that put reigning Norris trophy winner Erik Karlsson in the black and gold. At the time of signing the response was primarily positive as you would expect, but Karlsson has faced some criticism as the season has progressed.

As has been the case for most of the Swede's storied career many fans and media members have criticized Karlsson for his defensive play. Karlsson has always been an offensive defenseman, but the Pens defensive core has seemed pretty leaky at times.




Karlsson's Stats for the 2023-2024 Season



While I think many fans and media members were expecting something more like EK's historic 101 point season, Karlsson has still played exceptionally well as of late. At the time of this article he ranks 4th on the team with 32 points over 43 games. He's also riding a signficant point streak as he has registered a point in his last 8 games. I think one of the other struggles for EK65 is that the Penguins powerplay has been lackluster, which has impacted his point totals.


It's my opinion that Karlsson has looked very good at times, I believe there was just an adjustment period necessary. As for his defensive performance, Karlsson sits at +10 while playing against top competition and without a top powerplay to bump those numbers up. While not elite defensively, he doesn't seem like a liability.

Although I think there are holes within Karlsson's defensive game, I think that he has looked very solid and should continue to be a key piece for the Penguins down the stretch.

More to come.
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Erik Karlsson Silences his Critics

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