- Editor's Note: Sheng Peng will be a regular contributor to NBC Sports California’s Sharks coverage. You can read more of his coverage on San Jose Hockey Now, listen to him on the San Jose Hockey Now Podcast, and follow him on Twitter at @Sheng_Peng.
No one believed Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson.
“I still think I’m one of the best players in the world,” the then 31-year-old told local media before opening night last season.
The comments on Twitter weren’t, uh, kind.
Like many, I thought the two-time Norris Trophy winner’s time as a contender for the award was done.
“He is who he is, a very good player, still elite at times ... just not as elite as often as he used to be,” I wrote after the Sharks’ dropped a 4-2 decision to the Vegas Golden Knights on Oct. 25. “It’s like getting mad at Albert Pujols on the Angels or Michael Jordan on the Wizards for not being able to freeze time and transport you back to their primes."
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Since that loss, Karlsson has exploded for 60 points in his last 42 games. There isn’t a defenseman close to what Karlsson is doing offensively: Josh Morrissey is next with 48 points in 46 contests.