NASHVILLE — No surprise, Erik Karlsson is the winner of the 2023 Norris Trophy.
Karlsson has been the favorite for most of the season, a comeback campaign for the ages from the 33-year-old defenseman who had three of his previous four years cut short by injury.
Karlsson took home the prize for best defenseman over finalists Cale Makar and Adam Fox, the 2022 and 2021 winners, respectively. He becomes the second San Jose Sharks defenseman to win the Norris, after Brent Burns in 2017.
In the end, Karlsson totaled 25 goals and 76 assists in 82 games, the first 100-point campaign for an NHL defenseman since Brian Leetch’s 102 points in 1991-92.
Among the Karlsson highlights in an otherwise star-crossed season for the San Jose Sharks: He had 25 points more than runner-up rearguards Josh Morrissey and Quinn Hughes. In November, Karlsson became the first Sharks defenseman to have 20 points or more in a month. From Dec. 3 to Jan. 6, Karlsson enjoyed a 14-game points streak, a franchise record.
And my personal favorite:
How crazy a season is Karlsson having?
Tonight is his 5th four-point game of the season.
He had 5 four-point games IN HIS CAREER coming into this season.
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) April 2, 2023
Karlsson’s remarkable season has revived his previous dormant trade value.
In the summer of 2019, Karlsson signed an eight-year, $92 million contract with the San Jose Sharks, and the deal was considered a millstone as the blueliner suffered a string of injury-plagued and relatively unproductive years.
But now, there’s momentum for a Karlsson trade, despite the still-existing challenges with the remainder of his contract.
If Karlsson is moved this summer, he would be the first reigning Norris Trophy winner to be dealt since the Montreal Canadiens traded Doug Harvey to the New York Rangers in 1961.
Karlsson was also nominated for the Ted Lindsay Award, given to the league’s most outstanding player, as voted on by the NHLPA, but he was beat out by Connor McDavid.
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) June 27, 2023
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