Point/Counterpoint: The Curious Case of William Karlsson

Point/Counterpoint: The Curious Case of William Karlsson

By the end of November 2017, William Karlsson had 13 goals. 

In fact, it was his most productive month of the season in that regard, having potted 10 goals in November alone. It helped propel him to a storybook year; pretty incredible for a player already in the midst of a fair-tale season for his entire team.

Many pundits (OK, OK — all of the pundits) thought the player most likely to fall off of the cliff the fastest would be Karlsson. 

Just past the midway point in November 2018, and William Karlsson has 5 goals — putting him on pace for 18 on the year — less than half of his ’17-’18 total.

Again, that’s only 5 more goals than he had by the end of this month in 2017.

There are some interesting ‘give-and-take’ factors at play here. As most fans know, stats don’t tell the entire story — so let’s dive in.

Point: Karlsson didn’t truly get hot until the latter part of November, meaning by this date last year, he was just starting to get going, scoring most of the 13 goals (10 in November) in the latter part of the month.

Counterpoint: Karlsson also didn’t start 2017 as the #1 Center, and his average time on ice (ATOI) increased by almost a full minute from October to November of that year. This year, he started the year as the #1 Center and was/is looked upon to be one of the team’s very best goal scoring threats. By the numbers, his 2018 ATOI has increased by over a minute and a half from the 2017 pace.

In other words, he’s had more opportunity to stay on his torrid 2017 pace than he had to create it to begin with.

Point: Karlsson is on pace for 44 assists, and is second on the team in points.

Counterpoint: While that would be nine assists higher than his previous career high of 35 (scored last season, of course,) Karlsson isn’t being leaned on as someone who can dish the puck, while only scoring the occasional goal. As the top-line Center, he’s more or less expected to do it all — especially after his electrifying ’17-’18 campaign.

Point: The Golden Knights should’ve known it was risky to depend on him, and taken extra measure to obtain a dependable, pure goal-scorer during the off-season.

Counterpoint: Come on! They signed him to a one year prove-it deal for a reason. Faulting McPhee in this would be a serious mistake, especially when you take into account a lot of other deals that have been signed around the league.

Point: He’s been getting warmer lately, with 3 points in two games — including a goal in Edmonton.

Counterpoint: That gives him five goals on the year — the majority of which have come off tips and deflections, rather than on a full-on rush like they were last year. I know, I know — points are points, right? Unfortunately, context matters. When trying to pin down what exactly William Karlsson is, the context thus far clearly states that he hasn’t been off to the best of starts.

Point: We don’t need your negativity right now!


Counterpoint: I don’t mean to be negative! In fact, it’s possible William Karlsson goes on a tear soon. Hell, with how consistently inconsistent the team has been this year, anything can happen. But as it stands now? What once seemed a sure thing on the most important line on the team looks to be a question mark. While there is still a lot of time left in the season, Karlsson has certainly sputtered — and so has the team. His future on the team — or, at the very least, his next contract — will largely depend on his performance the rest of the year, not to mention Vegas’ playoff hopes. If that’s not enough motivation, I don’t know what is.

Game Calendar

November 2018