Apr 5, 2012; Ottawa, ON, CAN; Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) controls the puck in the first period against the Boston Bruins at Scotiabank Place. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-US PRESSWIRE

Scouting The Senators: Erik Karlsson

Apr 5, 2012; Ottawa, ON, CAN; Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) controls the puck in the first period against the Boston Bruins at Scotiabank Place. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-US PRESSWIRE

Erik Karlsson is the Brian Leetch of the Ottawa Senators. Ok, he isn’t Leetch but offensively he resembles something of a Brian Leetch. He’s an extremely good passer, and his wrist shot has garnered him a lot of goals. This was truly a breakout year for Karlsson, and I think he has fitted into coach Paul Maclean’s system perfectly.

Erik Karlsson is very important to the Senators offensively and could be a reason why the Senators win or lose the series. The Senators lack offensive depth and throughout the season this has sort of been their achilles heel, but Karlsson has made up for that even though he’s a defenseman. The Rangers need to contain Karlsson and make other players on Ottawa provide offense.

Defense is definitely the weakest part of Karlsson’s game, and it’s something that needs improvement. It’s no secret Karlsson is weak in that regard either. Of all the Ottawa defenseman that have played more than 65 games for the team Karlsson has spent the least amount of time of those defenseman short handed.

What does this mean for the Rangers? Well when Karlsson is on the ice, they need to watch for his offensive abilities and him joining the rush, but they also need to make him play defense, and get the cycle game going. The matchup I would try to get if I’m Torts is to get the Boyle line out there and keep the puck in the Senators zone. They have been monsters at keeping the puck in the opposing team’s zone all year, and this will open up many chances for that line if Karlsson is out there.

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Tags: Brian Boyle Erik Karlsson John Tortorella

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