The Noon Number: 0.98

0.98 - Erik Karlsson's points-per-game average through 61 games this season.

Perhaps it needs to be underlined: Erik Karlsson is still only 21 years old. There have only been six defenders who've put up stronger seasons offensively while 21 or younger: Bobby Orr, Paul Coffey, Brian Leetch, Phil Housley, Ray Bourque, and Al MacInnis. No active player has come near that number; Roman Hamrlik came closest during his 0.79 PPG season at the age of 21.

Karlsson's season is just three-quarters done, but he's already had the 28th-best offensive season for defencemen 21 years of age or less. His recent tear (12P in his last 5GP) is skewing his numbers upwards, but he's already had the best numbers of any defenceman his age in the post-lockout era--in fact, since Hamrlik's 65-point season back in 1995-96. Given that Karlsson has 60P already, there's good reason to believe he should pass that number (knock on wood).

Objectively, Karlsson's been incredible this season. Taking his young age into consideration, though, really underlines just how good he is--and raises the question of just how good he might be in years to come.

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