More Impressive NHL Season: Connor McDavid or Erik Karlsson?

NHL, San Jose Sharks, Erik Karlsson #65. (Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images)
NHL, San Jose Sharks, Erik Karlsson #65. (Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images) /

The 2022/23 NHL season has been impressive as far as offense goes, with 11 players with 100 points or more. We have seen players do things that have not been done in years, while other players have set career highs in point totals.

Two players come to mind when we talk about the end of the current season: Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid and San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson. 

Connor McDavid or Erik Karlsson: most impressive NHL season?

McDavid has been an offensive force since he came into the league in 2015. He has set the league on fire with his offensive production and moves inside the offensive zone.

McDavid has been compared to the greats of the game in terms of offense, as some may say he is the best offensive player in the history of the game. He has carried the offensive load next to teammate Leon Draisaitl, with McDavid earning numerous nominations for the league’s best player.

This season, McDavid has exploded offensively, setting career highs across the board. McDavid has 64 goals and 88 assists for 152 points in 81 games. In his last five games, he has three goals and five assists for eight points.

His previous career-high was during the 2021/22 season when he had 44 goals and 79 assists for 123 points in 80 games. In his eight NHL seasons, he has topped at least 100 points in six of them.

The last NHL player to have 150 points in a season was Los Angeles Kings forward Bernie Nicholls. Nicholls had 70 goals and 80 assists for 150 points in 79 games.

Not surprisingly, McDavid has led the Oilers in goals, assists, and points this season. Edmonton is currently second in the Pacific Division with a record of 49-23-9 for 107 points.

Karlsson is having himself a season that nobody saw coming.  The San Jose Sharks defenseman has 25 goals and 75 assists for 100 points in 80 games. In his last five games, Karlsson has three goals and six assists for nine points.

He is tenth overall in league scoring and leads all NHL defensemen in goals scored. Karlsson set a previous career-high with 82 points in the 2015/16 season.

Erik Karlsson’s offensive output this season puts him in rare company. He is only the second Sharks player in franchise history to score 100 points in a season. The first was Joe Thornton, who scored 114 points in the 2006/07 season.

He is one of the few defensemen in recent memory to score this many points, as the last defenseman to score at least 100 points was New York Ranger Brian Leetch. Leetch scored 102 points on 22 goals and 80 assists during the 1991/92 season.

This is quite the rare season for Karlsson as this offensive output puts him in a rare company for defensemen scoring. The San Jose Sharks will be missing the playoffs this season, as they have a record of 22-42-16 for 60 points. The 60 points are the third lowest of any team this season.

The most impressive season out of these two superstars goes to Erik Karlsson.

McDavid is a once-in-a-lifetime talent who has turned his game into an offensive show. He is without a doubt one of the best players in the last 25 years. However, Karlsson is doing this as a defenseman on a team with little to no offensive talent surrounding him.

In a game where the offense has risen, Karlsson is doing this by himself. McDavid has Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Draisaitl to fall back on. Karlsson has nobody helping him on offense as their top threat, Timo Meier, is no longer there, making Karlsson the only offensive weapon.

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I would argue that not only should Karlsson win the Norris Trophy, but he should also be considered for the Hart Trophy too.