It's been quite the offseason for Erik Karlsson.
Between winning the Norris Trophy, inking a new seven-year, $45.5 million contract and getting married, everything has been coming up aces for the Senators' defenceman.
With such an impressive string of good fortune, I suppose it was only a matter of time before Karlsson took the next step in his development and maturation: being used as a comparable talent that another organization's prospects can eventually measure up to.
From a NHL.com article by Mike Morreale that discusses the Carolina Hurricanes' Ryan Murphy:
"I think he's ready for the challenge of stepping up and trying to win a job at the [professional level]," Carolina's director of amateur scouting, Tony MacDonald, told NHL.com. "He's the same type of player as an Erik Karlsson in Ottawa. I don't want to compare the two, but he plays the same type of game that Karlsson plays … he's a dynamic defenseman who makes a lot of things happen off the rush. He is an excellent quarterback on the power play, so the offensive skill he brings to the table is one reason we feel he might be ready to make a contribution."Blasphemy!
Although I enjoyed the "I don't want to compare the two but I'm going to do it anyway" device, it's pretty rich that a NHL exec would suggest that his organization's prospect, someone who hasn't played in one professional game of hockey, would be comparable to the most dynamic offensive defenceman in the league.
Ignoring the spin, there's nothing quite like someone within an organization fervently elevating the expectation levels of a fan base, well, at least until Murphy proves the comparison wrong. Which he probably will because, it's pretty heavy burden to put on a prospect and expect him to live up to.
Just ask Stephane Da Costa (aka a very young Adam Oates).
I don't see how comparing someone to Karlsson is either wrong or avoidable. It could be said to be, in this case, if you can demonstrate beyond any doubt that every fan of the Hurricanes, upon reading this article, immediately turned to his or her spouse/significant other/pet/random person and said, 'Ryan Murphy is the next Erik Karlsson!' - which is not what MacDonald said. MacDonald (or anyone else for that matter) can hardly be faulted for comparing prospects to NHL players to provide an idea of what it is hoped that those prospects can accomplish.