Erik Karlsson

Karlsson voted NHL's top defenseman after 101-point season

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Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson is taking home the Norris Trophy for the third time in his NHL career.

Karlsson was announced the winner of the 2023 James Norris Memorial Trophy at the NHL Awards on Monday night in Nashville, Tenn., an annual honor given to the league's defenseman "who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position," as voted on by the Pro Hockey Writers Association.

He's the second Sharks player in franchise history to win the Norris Trophy, joining former teammate Brent Burns in 2016-17.

In 82 games last season, Karlsson racked up a career-high 25 goals and 76 assists for 101 points, which led all defensemen by a long shot and ranked 11th overall among NHL skaters. No other defenseman tallied more than 76 points.

Karlsson received 123 of a possible 196 first-place votes to become the ninth defenseman in NHL history to win the Norris Trophy at least three times, joining a list that includes Bobby Orr (eight times), Nicklas Lidstrom and Doug Harvey (seven times), Ray Bourque (five times), and Chris Chelios, Paul Coffey, Pierre Pilote and Dennis Potvin (three times).

The 33-year-old beat out fellow Norris Trophy finalists Adam Fox of the New York Rangers and Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche. Karlsson also was a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award, given to the NHL's most outstanding player as voted on by peers, but that honor went to Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid.

Karlsson, a four-time All-Star, also won the Norris Trophy in 2011-12 and 2014-15 with the Ottawa Senators. He hasn't placed higher than 15th in Norris Trophy voting since beginning his San Jose tenure in 2018.

Karlsson's future in San Jose is in question. He still has four seasons remaining on the eight-year deal he signed in 2019, but as the Sharks work through a rebuild, the defenseman is considering all options.

ā€œTime is running out. I played with too many guys throughout my career, amazing players and should be winners and should have won, that never did," Karlsson said Sunday at Bridgestone Arena, one day before the NHL Awards.

"I donā€™t want to be that guy. I want to win. Thatā€™s not to say Iā€™m going to win, right? I want an opportunity to win."

No matter his future in the Bay -- whether he's traded this summer or finishes out his contract with San Jose -- Karlsson's special 101-point campaign always will have a place in Sharks history.

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