Norris winner Karlsson has a new partner on defense

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Marc Methot is a happy guy.

On Tuesday, Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean confirmed Methot — acquired from Columbus in exchange for Nick Foligno in July — would pair up with reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson when the Senators begin the regular season.

“It’s awesome,” Methot told the Ottawa Sun. “I had a talk with [MacLean] right after I was traded. He sat me down, told me what was expected and there was a little bit of a layoff since then.

“I’m looking forward to that challenge.”

Methot will replace Filip Kuba, Karlsson’s defensive partner from a year ago (Kuba signed with Florida this summer.)

Those are some big shoes to fill — the veteran Czech blueliner was a steadying influence, playing the kind of complimentary, defensive game that proved vital to Karlsson’s 78-point explosion.

Methot said he knows what he’ll need to do to keep Karlsson producing offensively.

“You could compare to the way the Kings played when they had [Drew] Doughty paired with [Rob] Scuderi or [Matt] Greene or whoever [Doughty’s] partner was,” he explained. “You make sure you watch his back in terms of jumping up into the play.

“Really, I’ve just got to keep my game pretty simple and let him take care of the rest.”

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