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Golden Knights Analysis

William Karlsson Continues To Fade Away From His Inaugural Season Self

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William Karlsson - Vegas Golden Knights (Photo- Sammi Silber- Washington Hockey Now)

Welcome back to Vegas Hockey Now’s season in review series where we look at every player on the Vegas Golden Knights and their 2021-22 season from Michael Amadio to Zach Whitecloud.

You can catch up on the series here: Michael AmadioReilly SmithJonas RondbjergKeegan KolesarRobin LehnerAlex Pietrangelo, Nolan PatrickShea TheodoreJake LeschyshynMark StoneMax PaciorettyLaurent BrossoitMattias JanmarkWilliam CarrierJack EichelNicolas RoyChandler Stephenson, Jonathan MarchessaultBen HuttonDylan Coghlan, Nicolas Hague, Zach Whitecloud, Brett Howden, and Alec Martinez.

Today’s player is William Karlsson.

WILLIAM KARLSSON

William Karlsson Vegas Golden Knights official 2021-22 headshot

Stats: 67 GP 12-23-35 PTS
Contract: 5 years left at $5.9 million (M-NTC)
Games Missed: 15
Status: Healthy
VHN’s Grade: D

Overall Thoughts

William Karlsson just continues to regress. He is a shell of his former 40-goal self and beggining to look like a player with a bad contract for the Vegas Golden Knights. Karlsson was yet another player who battled through injury this past season for the VGK. He broke his foot in November and missed _ games as a result.

But in his return he failed to score consistently.

He still provides the Golden Knights with great chemistry alongside Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith on the Misfit Line, and is a solid penalty-killer capable of scoring big shorthanded goals. He’s also a character off the ice and an all-around like-able guy and leader in the locker room.

But at 29 years of age with on a cap-strapped team with center depth, Karlsson’s future with the Golden Knights is uncertain. A year ago the Golden Knight’s center depth was non-existent. The arrival of Jack Eichel has completely changed things.

Highlights

I’ve talked negatively about Karlsson thus far so let’s get into what he still can provide to the Golden Knights. As mentioned before he is an ace on the penalty kill and scored two shorthanded goals in 21-22.

His chemistry with Marchessault and Smith is also unmatched, as the trio have been playing together for the last five seasons and remain one of the few cogs left on the team from the 2018 Stanley Cup Final run.

Karlsson was also third in faceoff percentage wins for the Golden Knights at 51.7% only behind Chandler Stephenson and former VGK Adam Brooks.

What’s Next?

I fear for Karlsson’s future and sense a disturbance in the force.

Unless he can re-establish himself as a consistent scorer, I see Karlsson as the next Misfit and original Golden Knight exiled for cap room. 2017-18 was without a doubt a career-year for Karlsson, but he has failed to come even close to that level of play ever since as he is no longer playing with confidence.

His value is decreasing each and every year and if they don’t move him, they will be stuck with his contract until he turns 34. He is simply not the elite first-line center that George McPhee signed him to be anymore. He’s on the payroll for 2022-23, and needs to have a bounce back season four-times removed. If he can’t, I would bank on him being traded.

Welcome to your new home for Vegas Golden Knights breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to VHN+ for all of our members-only content the entire Vegas Hockey Now crew plus an ad-free browsing experience.

Owen Krepps covers the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now and writes for the Boulder City Review-Journal. A 2022 Robert Morris University graduate, he has previously written for RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, The Titusville Herald, Pittsburgh Sports Now, and Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

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