Sharks' Karlsson first defenseman to hit 100 points since 1992

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Wednesday, April 26, 2023

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson became the first NHL defenseman to reach 100 points in a season since Brian Leetch in 1991-92 on Monday night.

Karlsson entered the Sharks' 6-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets with 98 points across his first 79 games. He tallied the Sharks' two goals for San Jose, the first 20 seconds into the game and the second 3:42 into the third period, to hit the milestone.

That moved the 32-year-old veteran to 25 goals on the season, with 75 assists, both career highs for a player that was rumored to be dealt at the trading deadline before San Jose elected to keep him on the roster.

"I think I'm physically and mentally in a good spot in my life and I've just been trying to keep it going day by day and keep the motivation going as best as possible," Karlsson said. "You know, it's been tough as of lately but (I've) managed a way to get it done and I'm happy about that."

His effort marked the 15th time a blue-liner has reached 100 points in a season in NHL history. Former Boston Bruins defenseman Bobby Orr has the record with 139 points in 1970-71.

"It's a lot of points, and he certainly deserves it," Sharks forward Logan Couture said of Karlsson. "He's created a lot offensively for us this year. He could probably be at 120 or 130 by now if guys would finish off some of the dishes he's made. But 100, it's a special number."

Karlsson, a two-time Norris Trophy winner (2012, 2015) as the league's top defenseman, is the favorite to take home the award for a third time despite the Sharks missing the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Information from Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.