The Pittsburgh Penguins made a big move this offseason in acquiring 100-point defenseman Erik Karlsson from a rebuilding San Jose Sharks. New President and GM Kyle Dubas now gets a player he's been targeting since has was chasing the Stanley Cup with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
These are the kind of moves the NHL desperately needs. It adds spice and drama to a frankly dull and stuffy league.
I'm less interested in what this means in terms of getting the Penguins back into the playoffs and more on what it means for the totals! It was the first thing I tweeted after seeing the trade.
Pens were 37-44-1 against the OVER last year.— Michel Anderson (@TLOMitch) August 6, 2023
With Karlsson, who's all offense and no defense, I expect that record to flip next year.
Erik Karlsson: All Offense, No Defense
Karlsson is an elite offensive defenseman. That has been well established over his now 14-year NHL career. No defenseman has more points than EK's 761 since he entered the league in 2009-10.
But it's also been well-established that Karlsson isn't great defensively. A fact, that isn't going to get much better considering Karlsson is now in his early 30s. That's young for life but it's getting old for hockey
Erik Karlsson, traded to PIT, is an elite offensive defenceman coming off one of the greatest offensive seasons we've ever seen from a blueliner. Amazing passer, excellent shot. Also an extremely poor defender who sacrifices a lot to make that offence happen. #LetsGoPens pic.twitter.com/XbShgRF1tk— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) August 6, 2023
That all offense and no defense for a guy who's going to play nearly 25 minutes a night for Pittsburgh. That type of play is going to have a big impact on the Penguins' totals record this season. As in they'll most definitely hit the OVER. A lot.
Want to know how I know this?
Because we have the data.
Erik Karlsson: OVER Factory
We've seen Karlsson move from one team to another before. When EK made the move to the Bay area the Sharks average number of goals scored and allowed jumped by nearly a combined goal per game.
|Sharks Season||Goals For/Game||Goals Against/Game|
In Karlsson's last season with the Sens, Ottawa generated nearly six units of profits when blindly betting the OVER on all 82 games. That record followed him to San Jose where the Sharks generated seven-and-a-half units of profits when blindly betting the OVER.
Karlsson brought his OVERs factory from Ottawa to San Jose.
|Team||Record vs OVER||Profitability|
|Ottawa (2017-18)||44-38 (53.7%)||+$599.27|
|San Jose (2018-19)||46-33-3 (58.2%)||+$753.49|
And now Karlsson joins a Pittsburgh squad that was middle of the pack for offense in 22-23 (16th for goals) and in the bottom half for defense with 263 goals allowed (ranked 19th in the league).
The Swedish defenseman isn't about to sway either of those records in a way that pushes the Pens to hit the UNDER more this year. Make sure to bet the OVER when the Pens play.