How About No More EK On The PK?

I'm going to get into this more after Saturday's game, and take a deeper look at individual players through the "quarter mark" of the season with a thorough stats post. But with Lundin returning (err…making his debut) last night, and Karlsson playing a season low 16 seconds on the PK, this seemed as good a time as any to make my point.

For the remainder of the seaaon, it would probably be wise to play Karlsson as little on the penalty-kill as he did last year. I'm not saying he'll never be a decent player on the PK, but he isn't one right now:

  SH TOI SA/60 CA/60
Karlsson 26:51 70.00 46.9
Methot 40:41 51.7 33.9
Phillips 45:16 36.0 29.2
Gonchar 24:36 29.3 17.1
(SA/60 is shots against per 60 minutes of 4v5, and CA/60 is chances against per 60 minutes shorthanded)
 
Whatever Karlsson's done to improve his even-strength defending clearly isn't working shorthanded. Granted this isn't a huge sample, but Erik looks to be inflating Methot's numbers, who is as capable a defender as the team has. With Lundin now in the rotation, MacLean will have two fairly capable shorthanded pairs at his disposable, which should free up Karlsson to play optimized minutes at evens and on the power-play.

This really isn't a big deal, as Graeme has pointed out before Karlsson really isn't made for shot-blocking anyway. The precedent has been set, you can win a Norris playing fewer than 40 seconds of PK a game. Karlsson isn't the prototypical "complete" defenseman…he's something better…from the future. 

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