Erik Karlsson wants to remind you how damn good he has been.
After a 4-3 shootout victory over the Minnesota Wild, the San Jose Sharks defenseman was asked whether his production of two goals — which doesn’t even include the unreal clapper he unleashed to win the shootout — was the best offensive game he’s ever had.
While nonchalantly snacking on an apple, mid-bite, he might have just given the quote of the season.
“Not even close,” is the perfect, and most correct answer — a comeback to perfectly remind any doubters in the Bay Area of what he is able to do on the ice.
Karlsson, a two-time Norris Trophy winner who deserves even more than that depending on who you talk to, has earned a total of 616 points through 766 games. He also dragged an oddly-shaped Ottawa Senators team deep into the postseason in 2017, falling one goal shy of a Stanley Cup Final appearance.
A representation of consistency, Karlsson has never played a game in which he earned more than four points, but considering his overall output, there have been a lot of those. It was his first two-goal performance since joining the Sharks, however, with his last multi-goal outing coming back in December 2017.
Unfortunately for hockey fans everywhere, Karlsson’s tenure in San Jose has turned slightly sour since signing an eight-year, $92-million extension in 2019. Being surrounded by a declining core certainly does not help, but the 30-year-old isn’t necessarily going to be contributing a heaping pile of wins as the Sharks head for the eventual full rebuild.
No matter what Karlsson’s future looks like, snapping back with a phrase that is the NHL equivalent of, “who do you think you are? I am,” is the perfect response to those hesitating that he's capable of putting the entire team on his back for a few games.
Karlsson has scored four goals and 13 points through 31 games this season and the Sharks are currently seventh in the West Division with a record of 14-16-4.
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