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Erik Karlsson at Home in Ottawa

2021-04-03

"Balls to the wall"

The mantra is printed in capitalized, bolded font, clearly visible on the back wall of the Senators dressing room exit. It's been the message that the 2020-2021 Ottawa Senators have lived by since the beginning of the season.

Apparently management got the memo.

First, The Factor (Ryan O'Reilly), and now, EK65 (Erik Karlsson). The Sens locker room coined the team motto, and lived up to the phrase. Their GM took the proof in the pudding straight to the bank and went big-game hunting.

"Erik Karlsson brings another dynamic to our roster that we were previously missing. His puck moving prowess, experience, and skating-ability are just some of the attributes that make him an elite defender in our league" Expressed Sens GM Cole Bates.

The cost was steep, consisting of Defender Mike Reilly, along with two prized prospects in Jack Quinn, and Jacob Perreault.

Bates on the transaction:

"It's a gamble on shorter term dividends; I think we can recoup futures over a 3–4-year window of trying to contend. Our conference is wide-open and our club has shown that they deserve a shot. I have great confidence in the upside of the players we moved. I also have great confidence Erik Karlsson will make a profoundly positive impact on a team that's been at or near the top of its conference standings all season."

Karlsson brings a minute-munching offensive prowess to blueline in Ottawa. One that will provide much relief for Veteran Defenseman Keith Yandle, who logs an average of 22:03 per game. Karlsson, who averaged 23:45 in New York, is down to 22;45 with the Sens. The 4-time EHE Allstar will likely see tmost of his time alongside Danny Dekeyser, Brayden McNabb, or PK Subban at even strength, while contributing to both the powerplay and penalty kill units.

It appears as though The Sens brass knew the EHE's 2021 Expansion Draft also added another layer in restraining teams to make a push. The results, and the window of oppourtunity were both contributing factors in Ottawa's aggresive mindset.

"Protection lists have impacted the market too, make no mistake. In our case, we have a list ready, subject to change. Seattle will wish they had multiple picks for our team because we were bound lose a good player either way." Said Bates.

Ottawa is currently 3rd in the EHE with 66 PTS (30-13-6). The Sens have won 3 of 4 games since acquiring Erik Karlsson, who has 3 assists in 4 GP, and 33 PTS in 46 GP on the season. With 33 games remaining, the importance of games will only heighten down the stretch. 

Balls to the wall, baby.