Erik Karlsson

Karlsson is back where he belongs with third Norris Trophy

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NASHVILLE — Erik Karlsson wasn’t talking just about winning the Norris Trophy on Monday night.

The Sharks defenseman had been expected to win it for months, so I asked him about being nominated for the peer-voted Ted Lindsay Award -- he lost out to Connor McDavid -- and winning the Victoria Prize, given by Princess Victoria of Sweden, to the year’s top Swedish athlete.

Of course, he had plenty to say about winning the Norris.

Karlsson had a comeback campaign for the ages, scoring 101 points, the first defenseman since Brian Leetch in 1991-92 to eclipse the century mark. It felt like this season came out of nowhere, especially considering that three of Karlsson’s previous four years were cut short by injury.

Out of nowhere to everybody except Karlsson.

“In my own eyes, this is where I belong. This is where I should be every single year, even though that’s pretty hard to do and hasn’t happened, obviously. But I always believed in myself,” he told reporters after beating out Cale Makar and Adam Fox for the honor. “Being healthy for a longer period of time has really given me a perspective on how important it is to take care of your body and yourself.

"Obviously, there’s certain things you can’t control. Right now, the most important thing is to stay healthy."

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