I know that seems a little extreme but the beauty part is that in 2012, the idea of Karlsson scoring 20 goals only seems a LITTLE extreme. I raise this question because this number, 20, she has a history with me that dates back to that whacky year of our lord, 2010.
I was Tokyo drifting about on the salt flat that is the Offseason Sensphere where fans and writers alike are trying with all their might to find things to discuss*. Anyway, I can’t remember exactly where I read this, but in the heady, uncertain time that was the post-Heatley/pre-rebuild era some kind soul offered up a fan poll “Hey brosephine(s), who do you think will score 20 g/d goals for the Sens this year?” Pretty sure that was the exact wording.
It was a really good question at the time. With Spezza chronically struggling with injury, Jonathan Cheechoo living under the name Dr. Mario Prettyhorse and hiding in Burkina-Faso (oops sorry to give you away Cheech, my keyboard has no backspace button), Alex Kovalev was busy finishing up his Masters in Early 21st Century Money Collection, a general malaise loomed surrounding the team’s prospects for a 20 goal scorer. The notion that the Sens might have more than one 20 plus guy on the roster seemed rare, like Mr. Clean with hair.
On the message board below the poll, a poster expressed confidence that Erik Karlsson might perhaps be able to reach this milestone. Well, as you could imagine, many others on the message board tore that person to shreds (I know, rare behavior on a message board but bare with me). “ARE YOU KIDDING ME WHO DO YOU THINK HE IS PHIL HOUSLEY!?!?! OBVIOUSLY ITS GOING TO BE PETER REGIN!!!!” they scream-typed.
Now that the dust of that season has settled, at the close of 2010-2011 the Sens ended up with Spezza as Ottawa’s only 20 goal man, tallying 21.
Following much ballyhoo (is that not the worst word you’ve ever heard?) that breakout season for Regin never came to fruition and he finished with an abysmal 3 goals on the year. Sophomore Erik Karlsson, on the other hand, posted up an impressive 13 goals, which was interestingly the same number that Regin had finished the 2009-2010 season with and got a lot of fans talking about the (at the time) very real possibility that he could pot 7 more if given time in the top 6.
Seeing as Karlsson finished last season with 13 and is currently (conservatively IMO) on pace for 14. Do you think it is possible for him to put up 6 or 7 more in a season? Wait, before you answer, shut up for a second while I continue to say stuff!
The question on my mind is this, what exactly is a realistic ceiling projection for Karlsstud at this point? This kid has, for me, gone from “phew, working out nicely” to “hot holy Moses, He is the future of this team.” Where do we find our delicious nougatty middle that is packed with peanuts? This season’s performance sees our Special Little Guy poised to make all of the money currently on planet Earth. I’m not exaggerating, hockey insider Bob MacKenzie estimates that Karlsson will sign twixt the neighbourhood of eleventy trillion and one hundredy squillion Spacedollars depending on the new CBA. Rein it in? Time for me to rein it in.
Okay, so as of this writing, EK sits at 10 goals and is on pace for whopping 72 points which again I actually think is a little on the conservative side considering the amount of multi point performances the kid has put up. Regardless, that is right in the neighborhood of elite puck mover Mike Green’s best season of 76 points. Long term what are we looking at here? At 21 years of age and in the midst of only his 3rd NHL season, do we have that oh so rare nearly point per game defensemen on our hands? It’s not so unreasonable considering his performance playing only on Sens teams that have varied from playoff bubble to lotto pick and back. Does anyone think maybe we will we see a Doughty-like regression once Karlsson is given ALL OF THE MONEY and becomes one of the five richest kings of the moon? It’s at least possible considering it happened to Drew Doughty.
It has got to be super motivating to watch every multipoint performance turn into visions of the Cadillac Escalade edition jet skis that Karlsson is all but assured to earn with his next contract but looking at the kid’s point totals each year, I am willing to accept this is perhaps an exceptional season but at the same time I do not expect much of a drop off for years to come. A drop off seems even less likely if the rebuild continues to go as planned and the Senators as a team get progressively better. It’s not like Karlsson can log many more minutes than he’s already playing but can he put up even more points within those minutes?
Okay so thanks for coming to my crib MTV, you’ve seen my hover boards, you’ve seen the kitchen made entirely of platinum that I’ve never looked at or used, you’ve seen my Jacuzzi full of Faberge eggs and organic rice pudding, now its time for you to go and tell me if you think Karlsson’s got 20 goals in him. Sub Question: Could he do it this year?
*Save for the entire staff of Welcome To Your Karlsson Years who, come summertime, return to our jobs writing commercials for Cheetah Power Surge Energy Drink. Wait till you see the new one we have planned with Ben Johnson. It’s a laugh riot. What’s that? Who is Ben Johnson? Are you serious? He’s only an Olympic sprinter who got caught cheating well over 20 years ago! DUH, read the late 1980’s news much? Anyway, really, really, hip stuff. Stay Tuned. I have a feeling that 2012 is going to be the year of the
Mayan Apocalypse Cheetah Power Surge Energy Drink. Frank D’Angelo seems like a really good dude.
Great post! And great question. There’s a couple of dependencies here that I think could ramify (not a word) the future (not grammar).
1) The Senators are, pretty surprisingly actually, top ten in scoring this year. Spezza’s in the top five in scoring, Michalek tore it up for a while, Alfie bounced back in a huge way, Foligno with a career season, Zach Smith, Greening, Condra all scoring timely goals, Turris fitting in well. Everything sort of went right on the offensive side of things. And Karlsson factored in to something like 85% of the goals scored. So there’s that. If the team regresses, Karlsson may too regress, through no fault of his own. This was the case with Green too. When Ovechkin was scoring at legendary levels, Green was in on most of those goals.
2) Can Our Special Little Guy score 20 this year? Sure, why not. 10 goals in 22 games? It could happen. I give it a 23% chance, which I calculated using this cucumber and a bag of walnuts and Corsi and Qualcomp metrics and this cement mixer and some cement.
3) It is a contract year, after all. For every ten more points this dude gets, it’s going to be like an extra million bucks a year.
Haha had me laughing as always!
I agree with the point about Karlsson maintaining his production, it just doesn’t seem like there’s gonna be a massive drop off. I remember in the darkest of days last year when everyone was all like “hey, a young d-man has the most points on your team, HA!” and I was all like “Yeah, sign of things to come, duhh”…but anyways what I’m trying to say is its great to see him maintaining it.
I’m sure he can hit 20 goals, but not soooo sure it can be done this year, or next. Obviously anything can happen, but I feel as though once he has the necessary supporting cast (aka NOT Gonchar/Kuba/Eastern European retirement home starting lineup) he can make it happen.
Until then, I will be keeping close tabs on his moustache progress
Thanks, I agree with me too. I like your point about how last season Karlsson’s point totals appeared to many (especially outsiders to the team) as an indication of the team’s struggles but now that the team is doing much better and that he’s second only to Spezza’s over a point a game production and a full 10 points ahead of 3rd place Alfie (praise be His name), it’s more an indication that we may have a very, very special player on our hands here in Ottawa. I’m actually in favor of resigning Kuba to a SHORT contract they play well together. I agree that when the team’s development is a little further ahead and the top six gets a little a little bit stronger in front of EK …holy shit sky’s the limit. The big thing is when Karlsson is given all of the money if he will be as hungry…but to watch him play game in and game out…you know this kid is a hockey maniac. Go KarlsSens!
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