All Erik Karlsson did last season was lead NHL defencemen in scoring by 25 points.

This year, he could wind up being the top scoring blue-liner in two leagues.

Yup, a pair of scoring titles in the same season.

It's probably safe to say that's never been done before, right?

Karlsson, who played 30 games for Jokerit in Finland's SM-Liiga during the lockout, has what looks to be an insurmountable lead among all defencemen in one of Europe's strongest loops. The 34 points he amassed before Christmas remains 11 more than Teemu Aalto has in 49 games for Tappara Tampere.

Aalto has only 11 more games to make up the difference.

Now, the fourth-year Senator is no lock to repeat as the NHL's top scoring rearguard in this shortened season. But few would bet against him, either.

In Tuesday's 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres, Karlsson notched his fourth goal of the season, tying him with Montreal's Andre Markov for the league lead for defenceman Combined with his four assists, it leaves Karlsson just four behind the pace-setter in points, Winnipeg's Tobias Enstrom.

Oh, and then there's the defensive play Karlsson's been giving the Senators through 10 games this season. Asked Wednesday how much the defending Norris Trophy winner has improved in his own zone from last season, Senators coach Paul MacLean was succinct.

"I think he's improving," MacLean said of the 22-year old known simply as 'Karl' among friends. "He hasn't gotten worse, that's for sure. I think the defensive part of his game, he learns more about it all the time.

"I'd say he could be the best player in the league," added MacLean. "We haven't seen all the teams, but I know that if you have the puck all the time, you don't have to defend. Quite often he has the puck -- so he doesn't have to defend."

One thing is for sure -- nobody controls the tempo of a game the way the speedy Karlsson does from the Senators' back end. And but a very few are relied on more than the Senators do their No. 65.