OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators announced today that defenceman Erik Karlsson has been named the ninth captain in franchise history. Karlsson, 24, is preparing for his sixth National Hockey League season with the Senators.
“Erik has quickly evolved to become one of the elite players in the National Hockey League,” said Senators owner Eugene Melnyk. “Erik’s growth as a player is only surpassed by his growth off the ice. He has become a great ambassador of our hockey team and our city. Our team is ready to move forward under Erik’s overall leadership and he will be strongly supported by an exceptional group of veteran teammates.”
A native of Lansbro, Sweden, Karlsson has appeared in 315 career regular season games with Ottawa, scoring 63 goals, 174 assists and 237 points over that span. He holds franchise records for goals (20) and points (78) in one season by a Senators defenceman.
“Erik has matured into a leader and the type of player and person we can see taking the franchise to the next level,” said Senators general manager Bryan Murray. “He’s a dynamic personality and we feel fortunate knowing that Erik will be joined by a strong leadership core, including our alternate captains Chris Neil and Chris Phillips, to push this franchise to succeed. It was clear from our meetings with Erik that his full commitment is to the success of this team, both now and in the future. We’re proud to name him our captain.”
Karlsson was the Senators’ first-round pick (15th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He has represented his native Sweden internationally on five separate occasions including the recent XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. He was recognized by the IIHF as the tournament’s top defenceman after leading Sweden in goals (four), assists (four) and plus/minus (+5) en route to a silver medal.
Karlsson succeeds Laurie Boschman (1992-93), Gord Dineen, Mark Lamb and Brad Shaw (1993-94 rotation), Randy Cunneyworth (1994-95 to 1997-98), Alexei Yashin (1998-99), Daniel Alfredsson (1999-2000 to 2012-13) and Jason Spezza (2013-14) as team captain and could wear the ‘C’ for the first time as early as this Friday when Ottawa hosts the Montreal Canadiens at Canadian Tire Centre at 7:30 p.m.
Chris Neil, 35, and Chris Phillips, 36, will continue to serve as the team’s alternate captains. Both Neil and Phillips were drafted by Ottawa and have spent their entire NHL careers with the Senators. Phillips is the active leader in games played by a Senator, with 1,143, while Neil has played in 855 career regular-season games.
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