Despite NHL players having the option to now play in Sweden, don’t expect Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson to head overseas right away.
The reigning Norris Trophy winner — who starred for Frolunda before coming over to the NHL — is said to be taking a patient approach with the current lockout.
Karlsson’s camp is currently in an information-gathering stage right now and there are no immediate plans for him to sign a contract in Sweden or anywhere else right now. In the short term, Karlsson will continue to participate in informal workouts in Ottawa with his Senators teammates.
While the Swedish Elite League had previously been closed off to NHL players during the lockout, reports out of Sweden on Friday indicate that an anti-trust ruling will now open up the league to NHLers.
The 22-year-old spent parts of two seasons with Frolunda prior to coming over to North America to join the Senators. In his last campaign with the club, back in 2008-09, Karlsson registered 10 points in 45 games.
Since becoming Ottawa’s first-round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Karlsson has rocketed to stardom. He captured the Norris Trophy in June after leading all defensemen with 78 points during the 2011-12 campaign. He joined Hall of Famers Bobby Orr and Denis Potvin as the only blueliners to capture the award under the age of 23.
One day prior to capturing the award, Karlsson signed a seven-year, $45.5 million contract with the Ottawa Senators.