William Karlsson Remains a Golden Knight
Drafted 53rd overall in the 2011 NHL entry draft by the Anaheim Ducks, Karlsson broke out as a star this past season. Arguably the biggest steal at the 2017 Expansion Draft, Karlsson was Vegas’ selection from the Columbus Blue Jackets. In fact, Columbus traded their 1st round draft pick to Vegas to guarantee they’d claim Karlsson. After appearing in just 21 games between Anaheim and Columbus in 2014-15, he found a home on the Blue Jackets third line.
In two seasons with Columbus, Karlsson appeared in nearly every game (162 of 164) with a mere 45 total points in that span. Then, he became a first-liner overnight and racked up 43 goals and 78 points in 82 games with Vegas last year. Those figures gave him the team lead in both categories as well. He set new career highs in every category, from points to time-on-ice to hits and possession metrics. His Corsi-for was 53.8% and relative Corsi-for 3.7%.
Karlsson continued his strong play as the Golden Knights went on a “Cinderella” Run to the Stanley Cup Final. He put up seven goals and eight assists for 15 points in 20 Stanley Cup Playoff games, and logged a massive 21:40 per night too.
Expectations High for William Karlsson’s Future
Karlsson’s role expanded enormously over the past 12 months, propelling him to all-star status on the league’s surprise Cinderella story. However, that was the 2017-18 season. No one will be surprised anymore by this team or its unexpected leaders. It will be harder to replicate his numbers next year, but the 25-year-old absolutely has the ability to be a consistent 30 to 40 goal scorer. Linemate Jon Marchessault had a similar breakout two seasons ago and he was able to replicate that success the following year. This duo has the potential to become one of the most respected pairs in the league, and they’ll be in Vegas for a long time now to do so.
LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 20: William Karlsson #71 of the Vegas Golden Knights skates during warmups before a game against the Vancouver Canucks at T-Mobile Arena on March 20, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Golden Knights won 4-1. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)