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Penguins Defenseman Erik Karlsson during the pre-game skate warm-ups before hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets in Pittsburgh
Photo credit: NHL - Pittsburgh Penguins

Defenseman Erik Karlsson is failing as a Penguin

Published April 1, 2024 at 12:52
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The Pittsburgh Penguins are failing in a lot of areas including their players. One in particular is Erik Karlsson

Why Karlsson stands out among a few Penguins players who are also struggling is the fact that the defenseman is coming off his third Norris Trophy winning season.

With that in mind, it was thought that Karlsson would be some explosive offense to the team and firepower off the blue line. But with only nine games remaining on the schedule, Karlsson is merely producing at 46 points.

The expectations were not for Karlsson to bring a 100-point season to Pittsburgh, but his talent definitely is greater than 46 points. In the last six games, he has gone pointless and has had only two goals in the last 53 games. That dates back to November.


Erik Karlsson has never played one season where he played 73 games or more without scoring. His lowest goal production year with a minimum of 73 games was in the 2010-11 season as a Senator where he played 75 games and scored 13 goals. More disturbing is that he leads the Penguins with shot attempts at 482.

Talks around the fan base has been that he is not playing to his level and he should be traded. With the highest salary of any player on the team at $10 million a season, that fuels the fire and the expectations.

There were times he looked like the Karlsson of old. He currently does lead all defensemen in points, but barely, with two more then Letang. But his lower production could also be attributed to the teams overall poor play at times.


It does not appear that Karlsson will be traded in the offseason, both himself and the Penguins have both spoke to that as speculation. We can try to chalk it up to his first year with a new team. When he first went to San Jose from Ottawa, he did only score 3 goals that year but only played in 53 games.

Hopefully his second year with the Penguins will find more production.

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Defenseman Erik Karlsson is failing as a Penguin

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