erik karlsson

With nine goals in 12 games, Erik Karlsson is already just one goal away from tying his total in 50 games last season and on pace for the best offensive campaign of his career.

The 32-year-old Karlsson posted his first career hat trick and the first ever by a San Jose Sharks defenceman in Tuesday’s 6-5 shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

Karlsson, who has six goals in his past three games, currently sits second in NHL goal scoring and leads all defencemen in points with 15.

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NHL Goal Leaders – Nov. 2

Limited to 50 games last season due to injury, Karlsson had 10 goals and 35 points in the campaign.

He’s currently on pace for 62 goals and 103 points this season, which would well exceed his best-ever season of 82 points in 82 games with the Ottawa Senators in 2015-16. He has not topped 45 points in a season since being traded to the Sharks in 2018.

His current career-best goal total came in 2014-15 with the Senators, when he scored 21. Karlsson has been unable to top 10 goals in a single season since 2016-17.

The defender’s resurgence has come under new head coach David Quinn, who oversaw Adam Fox winning a Norris Trophy with the New York Rangers in 2021. Karlsson was pessimistic heading into the offseason that Quinn’s addition would have a major impact on his on-ice results.

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NHL point leaders (click to expand)

“No, not really. Maybe if I was a younger player, it may be a little bit different. I’ve played for a lot of different coaches. I kind of am who I am at this point,” Karlsson told The Athletic in September. “I’ve just got to get back to being that and try and make everything work within everybody else. I think that goes for a lot of guys here.

“We’ve kind of been stuck in the mud for a little bit, and it’s going to be nice to see if we can get something going here and get everybody on the same page to play a sustainable game where we have a chance of making the playoffs.”

Despite Karlsson’s individual success, the Sharks have struggled early this season, posting a 3-8-1 record in their first 12 games.

Signed at a cap hit of $11.5 million through the 2026-27 season, Karlsson is the NHL’s fourth-highest paid player this season.

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