After missing the playoffs in 2021-22, the main storylines focused on injuries and inconsistency, particularly from their goaltenders. One thing that seemed to fly under the radar, however, were the struggles of William Karlsson.
Karlsson, 29, quickly became a fan favorite in Vegas after leading the team in scoring during their inaugural 2017-18 season with 43 goals and 78 points. That season appears to have been somewhat of an anomaly, as he has failed to put up a stat line remotely similar since. That said, he has still posted solid numbers in recent seasons, though that was not the case in 2021-22.
This past season, Karlsson suited up for 67 games, scoring just 12 goals and 35 points. That translates to just 14 goals and 42 points over a full 82 game schedule, which is simply not enough for a player commanding a salary of $5.9 million.
Due to his lack of production this past season paired with his high cap hit, the Golden Knights reportedly considered moving him this offseason. While they may have simply had a change of heart, the more realistic outlook is that they were simply unable to find any suitors for him. Simply put, it is tough for a team to take on a player with that cap hit on a deal that still carries five more years.
Barring a sudden and unexpected change, Karlsson will remain with the Golden Knights for the 2022-23 season, and will likely play a significant role for them. Given the immense talent within their top six, he should be put in a great spot to produce offense. They will need him to do just that, as another off year could once again put them in a tough spot to qualify for the postseason. If he struggles, there is a high possibility he is either dealt or bought out by this time next year.
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