This afternoon the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association announced that defenceman Erik Karlsson is the team’s nominee for the Bill Masterton Award. The award is presented annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.
And when you consider how grim things looked for Karlsson back on February 13, 2013- it’s is a extremely well-deserved nomination.
I’m sure we all remember how we felt, watching Karlsson go down with that injury. And as the updates began to surface, and word spread about the severity of the injury, it was hard not to think worst case scenario. Not only were the Senators losing their best player for the rest of the season, but there was a very real chance that a generational talent was never going to be the same. As fans we considered the worst but Karlsson would have nothing of it.
Not only did he return that season, but he has since steadily improved to the point where he’s pretty close to 100% and back to his old self. Karlsson will tell you that there are still lingering effects from the injury but you’d never know it watching him play.
Karlsson has racked up an incredible 70 points this season yet isn’t even being considered in the Norris Trophy conversation. He’s got a 13 point lead on the next closest defenceman and is actually pushing that 78 point mark he put up back in the 2011-2012 season. Point totals are down slightly but his 20 goals have set a new franchise record for goals by a defenceman, eclipsing a record he shared with Steve Duchesne.
From where he was on the night of that injury, now back among the game’s elite players in less than a calendar year. Certainly worthy of the nomination. As fans of the Ottawa Senators, we are extremely lucky that we get to watch a player like Erik Karlsson on a nightly basis.
-Couple other bits of Sens news today. This morning, the team announced that they have signed Ferris State forward Garret Thompson. Thompson has spent the last four seasons with Ferris State and is expected to join the Binghamton Senators in the next couple days. The Senators also announced the signing of goaltender Chris Driedger to a three year, entry level contract. Driedger is coming off an impressive season with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League.