Monday, October 26, 2009

The Verdict on Karlsson

This blog has been admittedly divided over Ottawa Senators rookie defenceman Erik Karlsson. On one hand, he's supremely talented and has put his skills on full display during the Senators' preseason and recent games. On the other, he's been sloppy defensively and has a hard time keeping up with bigger NHL forwards.

With the magic 10-game mark fast approaching, Sens GM Bryan Murray has to decide whether to keep the kid or lend him to the AHL Senators or, perhaps, to a Swedish League team.

With Filip Kuba returning to the Sens' lineup soon (hopefully), the pressure is definitely on to make a decision soon.

Here's what I've said in recent posts, starting with the earliest:

September 19:

Over 21 minutes played and a +3 night for Erik Karlsson.

September 21 (Entitled "Send Karlsson to Bingo"):

I know that Erik Karlsson is The Great Blond Hope, and probably the Ottawa Senators best prospect since Jason Spezza, but from what I've seen of his defensive skill, he's just not ready to take on the towering, powerful forwards of the NHL.

September 30:

I'm rather surprised that Erik Karlsson has, so far, beaten out Brian Lee for a roster spot (as you know, Lee was returned to Bingo a couple days ago). Cory Clouston and the other coaches must really like what they see from Special K.

October 3:

Erik Karlsson is the great blond hope. When was the last time a rookie defender made the Senators opening night squad? Wade Redden? That was 13 years ago! Even if he doesn't stick with the big club this season, Karlsson has already shown us he's got the talent to play in the NHL one day.

October 5:

Erik Karlsson? The kid has poise and moves on the powerplay, but his flaws were on full display as well. Maybe a few more games in the NHL will progress his defensive game, but I'm not sure he'll stick around that long.

October 15:

After a win tonight, and a game on Saturday night against the Habs, you won't find bored hockey writers speculating about the future of Erik Karlsson. I think Bryan Murray will do what he thinks is best, and with modern free agency rules, he's probably going to the minors (or back to Sweden) no matter how well/poorly he plays. Probably.

What's your verdict?
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