This week’s question is:
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Ryan: Chabot has gotten off to a crazy start, but I'm still going to pick Karlsson. He seems to be having a tough time adjusting to the San Jose Sharks, but it's just a matter of time before he starts to heat up. For what it's worth, Brent Burns, had no goals and seven assists in his first 19 games last year, which led to people getting down on him. He had 12 goals and 60 points in his last 63 games, so just because Karlsson has no goals and seven assists in 17 games so far, it doesn't mean that he won't still be amazing in the long run.
Brian: I couldn't agree with Ryan more. Despite the fact I'm a huge fan of Chabot and think he's one of the brightest young defensemen in the NHL, I'm also going with Karlsson. Not only will he improve once he acclimates himself better to San Jose, I predict Chabot, as most inexperienced players generally have, will hit the wall later in the season. May sense is that Karlsson will finish the campaign with 60 points, a good 15-20 more than Chabot.
Corey: I'm not as optimistic that Karlsson and Burns will both end up with 60-plus points this season, but I do believe the former Senators captain will bounce back. He has been piling up shots (52 on target and 128 total shots attempted) despite his goal drought. Karlsson is bound to start clicking eventually. I also really like what Chabot has done this season, but if given the choice between the two of them I would also lean towards the more established veteran. Chabot's scoring pace has been incredible this season and a slow down has to be coming eventually.
Michael: Would it not be funny if Ottawa GM Pierre Dorian knew that Thomas Chabot was absolutely ready to take over from Erik Karlsson on the Ottawa blueline as well as ably quarterback the power play. Of course, this is the GM who dealt for Matt Duchene and gave up the possible first pick in the 2019 Draft as the pick was not protected.
Chabot has been everything that Karlsson used to be offensively as he was tied for fourth in NHL scoring after the Florida-Ottawa game on Sunday. He has 22 points in 18 games and that was Karlsson-type numbers for a lot of his career in Ottawa.
I think that the leg injuries suffered by Karlsson in his career are taking its toll on his health and his ability to play. Karlsson is a smart player and he will be able to get by but last season saw a decline in his game and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was no longer an elite defenseman, especially offensively. Of course, he could return to his glory years but for now I will go out on a limb and say that Chabot will be better offensively the rest of the way.
Joey: I think Karlsson is going to get his season back on the rails, but that doesn't mean Chabot won't be able to outscore him from now until the end of the season. Chabot has shown that he's capable of being an all-around number one defenseman for the Senators in the first month of the season. The 21-year-old is young, he can skate and he has all the necessary tools to provide consistent offense every night. The Sens aren't very deep on defense, so he should continue to see a significant amount of ice time. Karlsson's numbers will improve, but Chabot's upside is undeniable.