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Erik Karlsson: I still think 'I'm one of the best players in the world'

Ezra Shaw / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Erik Karlsson's self-confidence certainly hasn't taken a hit after a couple of down seasons.

"I obviously still think that I'm one of the best players in the world," the San Jose Sharks defenseman said Saturday, according to The Mercury News' Curtis Pashelka. "That's where I've been for a very long time, that's where I want to go, that's where I want to stay."

Karlsson added: "For me, that's always going to be my expectation, and I hope that's going to be the case for the rest of my career, not only this year."

Since entering the NHL in 2009, Karlsson leads all defensemen with 626 points. He won the Norris Trophy while with the Ottawa Senators in 2012 and 2015, and he remains the league's highest-paid defenseman after signing an eight-year, $92-million contract with the Sharks in 2019.

However, Karlsson's play has been hampered by a number of injuries recently. After joining the Sharks in 2018, he underwent groin surgery in May 2019 and broke his thumb in February 2020. Karlson had the most unproductive campaign of his career last season with 22 points in 52 games.

Head coach Bob Boughner believes Karlsson can return to his elite form this campaign.

"He's a prideful guy. I think he wants to have a rebound season. He's prepared for that," Boughner said. "He's got a sense of seriousness to his approach and I think great players figure it out. You can't teach what he has."

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