On Wednesday night, Erik Karlsson will commemorate his breakout campaign by appearing at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas as one of the three Norris Trophy nominees.
But tonight? Tonight he’s going to celebrate.
That’s because the 22-year-old defenseman has signed a massive seven-year, $45.5 million deal with the Ottawa Senators. The contract will keep Karlsson in the Canadian capital until 2019, matching the longest contract in franchise history (Jason Spezza signed a seven-year deal back in 2007.)
The average annual value of $6.5 million is a huge raise for Karlsson, who was earning $1.3 million annually on his last contract (which, to be fair, was his entry-level deal.)
While steep, it’s a price the Senators had to pay to retain the services of last year’s most outstanding offensive defenseman. Karlsson scored 78 points in 81 games, finishing 25 clear of the next leading defenseman scorers (Brian Campbell and Dustin Byfuglien each had 53.)
His 59 assists tied him for third with Evgeni Malkin overall — only Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin and Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux had more.
In terms of cap hit, Karlsson’s $6.5 million puts him in rarefied air among blueliners. Only Campbell ($7.14 million), Drew Doughty ($7.0), Zdeno Chara ($6.9) Jay Bouwmeester ($6.7) and Dan Boyle ($6.6) are more expensive. Dion Phaneuf’s annual cap hit is also $6.5 million.
Despite tough fight, Stars hand Wild their sixth straight loss
This dominant win is a heck of a way for the Kings to begin an imposing seven-game road trip, which continues against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Bruins probably want to burn the tape on this one themselves, as they’re about to head on a six-game road trip.
Per @EliasSports: @LAKings had 9 different skaters score in a game for 5th time in franchise history. Last: Jan. 21, 1987 vs. PIT (10-5 W).
Some hockey players resist the urge to wear a visor, at least if they’re given that choice.
Perhaps a few will say “Hey, Nathan Beaulieu will just punch it off anyway.”
Maybe not, but Beaulieu provided a rather unique moment in his fight with Cedric Paquette during the Montreal Canadiens – Tampa Bay Lightning game. You can watch that bout in the video above, and see a cut on the Lightning pest’s face from that blow.