Erik Karlsson takes home Norris Trophy

By Matthew Kirkpatrick

Erik Karlsson capped off the most sensational year of his young NHLcareer tonight by taking home the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman.

Karlsson beat out Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber, and former Norris winner Zdeno Chara for the award.

At 22, Karlsson is the youngest Norris winner since Bobby Orr, who was 20 years-old when he won his first Norris back in 1968.

With the win, Erik Karlsson joins captain Daniel Alfredsson as the only Ottawa Senators to win individual awards at the NHL’s big end of year gala. Alfredsson won the Calder Trophy back in 1995 as the league’s top rookie.

The win comes just one day after Karlsson signed a $45.5 million contract extension that will keep him with the Senators through the 2019/2020 season.

To say that Karlsson has had a good year would be an under statement.

Erik Karlsson had such a good year offensively that he nearly lapped the field by scoring 78 points, 25 points better than the next highest scoring defenseman.

Karlsson also worked diligently on his defensive game this season, and improved his plus/minus rating by a staggering 46 points from last year, and finished the 2011/2012 campaign at a respectable plus 16.

He became just the second Swedish born player to take home the award, and seemed thrilled to have his name etched on the same trophy as his childhood idol Nicklas Lidstrom, and now only trails the recently retired Detroit Red Wings superstar by six Norris wins.

Now Erik Karlsson will set his sights on next season where with the shiny trophy he took home this evening and new contract he signed yesterday; expectations will shoot through the proverbial roof.

Who knows?

Maybe Karlsson will feel confident enough to kill penalties next season with a Norris Trophy in his back pocket.

In other Senators news:

Daniel Alfredsson was also in Las Vegas for the awards, and took home the King Clancy Trophy which is awarded each year  “to the player  who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has  made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.”

Alfie was also up for the Masterton Trophy, but it was awarded to Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens.

Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean also came up short in his bid for the Jack Adams Award which went to the St Louis Blues’bench boss, Ken Hitchcock.






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