Five defencemen who are better than Erik Karlsson
by Rob Poirier (@RobFeature)
That's Erik Karlsson up there. Just take a second and look at him. He's amazing. I mean, he's already won two Norris trophies, and so far this season, he's got 73 points. That's not a typo, he's literally got 73 friggin' points. That's THIRD most in the entire league! Can you imagine how many he'd have if he played on a good team? A team that had someone as good as, say, Mike Hoffman playing on their first power play unit?
So yeah, Erik Karlsson is the best and I'd probably let him be my best friend. If he wanted to, I mean. But listen, that makes what I have to say next sooooo difficult: he is NOT the best defenceman on the planet, guys. I'm sorry, Sens fans. I'M SORRY. But it's true.
Look, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to prove it. I'm just going to list a couple of defencemen who are better than Erik Karlsson and we can put this whole thing to bed once and for all. And you know what? I don't even think it's going to be all that hard. Check this out:
BOBBY ORR (Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks 1966-1979)
Remember how I said Erik Karlsson has won two Norris trophies? Well, hold on to your butt because Bobby Orr won EIGHT of them. Oh, and he also collected the Calder, two Art Ross trophies, two Conn Smythes, and three Hart trophies along the way. Orr essentially invented the offensive denfenceman role, and if his career hadn't been cut short by a series of knee injuries, it's likely the above list of accolades would have continued to grow. Plus, Orr is in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and guess what? Erik Karlsson's not. I know because I just Googled it. BOOM. That's one in the bank. Bobby Orr: better than Karlsson.
You know what? I was right. This really is going to be easy...
NICKLAS LIDSTROM (Detroit Red Wings, 1991-2012)
Like Bobby Orr, Nicklas Lidstrom was an offensive defenceman who was miles better than his generational peers. He won seven Norris trophies, one Conn Smythe, and as I found out today when I went looking for a picture of him, was sexy as hell. He once got 80 points in a season. Like... in my lifetime! Not back when goalies just kind of stood there and were probably also a bit drunk...
Whoa, I'm reading that he won four Stanley Cups?? That doesn't even seem fair... but whatever, my point is: he's also better than Karlsson, and by now I think it's clear that I'll be able to think of at least three more guys to flesh out my list. No problem.
BRAD FAST (Carolina Hurricanes, 2004)
I know what you're all thinking: "Who is Brad Fast? Is that even a picture of Brad Fast?" Well, the truth is... I'm honestly not 100% sure. But here's what I do know: defenceman Brad Fast scored a goal in every single game he ever played. Can Erik Karlsson say that? NO. So this guy is better.
I'M NOT REACHING GUYS, HE'S HONESTLY BETTER!!
RUSS TYLER (Mighty Ducks, 1994-1996)
Okay, okay, I know this one is a fictional character from a movie, but just hear me out! Russ Tyler was a defenceman and he was played by a real human being, so THIS SHOULD COUNT. In D2, Russ Tyler is a cool street kid who saves the Ducks from certain defeat with his patented "knucklepuck." It's kinda like... he stands the puck up on end and smacks it and it just sort of... like... it flips all around and stuff. Look, it was really cool, okay? In the '90s, we used to pretend we were doing "knucklepucks" all day long and then we'd head inside and watch the TGIF lineup of shows before bed.
(1) none of this is lame
(2) Russ Tyler rules
(3) my list is going very well
CAPTAIN AMERICA (Avengers, 1963-present)
WAIT, JUST GIVE ME A CHANCE!! So, Captain America defends America. Right? RIGHT. So he's a man... who defends. And he defends America from all kinds of stuff too. Like, not just other humans. Monsters... uh... aliens...
NOTE TO EDITOR: Eric, please do not post this article until I get a chance to rewrite it. As is, it's stupid and I'm embarrassed. I realize now that it's almost impossible to think of defencemen who are actually better than Erik Karlsson. Anyone who's been saying that he shouldn't win the Norris again is either joking or out of their mind. Like, Drew Doughty? Come on...