Erik Karlsson of the Madrid Royals saw his star rise above some very bright stars on Saturday. The 22-year-old defenseman who put up 15 goals and 64 points in 80 games last season, can now claim to be the league’s fastest skater and its most accurate shooter.
In the All-Star skills competition held in London, he finished first by an eyelash in the skating race before winning the accuracy contest. He nipped Zurich’s Patrick Kane in the fastest skater event and they finished ahead of pre-race favorite Steven Stamkos of Frankfurt. Karlsson finished just ahead of Belfast sniper Sidney Crosby to win the accuracy event. Last year’s top sharpshooter, Dustin Byfuglien, gave it a valiant try but placed third.
Most observers expected the hardest shot contest to come down to the three big defensemen who placed atop the list last year and they were right. But defending champ Byfuglien was third again Saturday. Shea Weber of the Oslo Outlaws took the title by a narrow margin over Zdeno Chara of Bratislava. Chara, who is not quite healthy enough to suit up for the Eagles games, said his injury does not affect his slapshot so he was able to participate.
Here is a look at the final results. The chart shows the player’s WSH rating, followed by the random number that represented luck and effort, and the total of the two divided by 2.