After a summer’s worth of breathless speculation, the Erik Karlsson trade watch has finally reached its conclusion.
The Sharks, waiting in the periphery as a darkhorse suitor for much of the process, emerged from the pack Thursday, completing a pre-training camp blockbuster to acquire the Senators’ superstar, shifting the balance of power in the NHL’s competitive Western Conference.
In return, Ottawa obtained a package of four players and as many as three draft picks, highlighted by NHLer Chris Tierney.
The group also includes defenseman Dylan DeMelo, forwards Josh Norris and Rudolfs Balcers, and conditional draft picks in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
🚨 𝗜𝗧’𝗦 𝗗𝗢𝗡𝗘 🚨
Erik Karlsson has been traded to the Sharks, as first reported by @ev_sporer.
In exchange, the Senators get:
F Chris Tierney
D Dylan DeMelo
F Josh Norris
F Rudolfs Balcers
2020 1st-round pick (cond)
2019 2nd-round pick (cond)
2021 2nd-round pick (cond) pic.twitter.com/682SUEYgvq
— Sporting News NHL (@sn_nhl) September 13, 2018
“It’s extremely rare that players of this caliber become available,” Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said. “The word ‘elite’ is often thrown around casually but Erik’s skillset and abilities fit that description like few other players in today’s game.”
Forward prospect Francis Perron (a seventh-round pick in 2014) is headed to the Sharks along with Karlsson.
The trade was a long time coming for eager NHL observers who had been pouring over Karlsson trade tidbits since he was first rumored to have entered the market prior to the 2018 deadline. The Senators then tabled an eight-year contract extension worth $80 million ($10 million AAV) on July 1, the first day of eligibility to re-sign their star. Karlsson’s camp reportedly rejected the offer, considered well below market value for a player widely considered the best defenseman in the NHL.
The two-time Norris winner drew interest far and wide.
The Golden Knights, who reportedly came close to finalizing a trade twice, the Lightning, Sharks and Stars were rumored front-runners in the early goings. Vegas completed a blockbuster of its own earlier in the week, acquiring goal-scorer Max Pacioretty from the Canadiens.
San Jose’s trade for Karlsson could be considered a direct counter to their division rivals and an attempt to make amends for whiffing on San Jose’s efforts to sign John Tavares, this summer’s biggest free agent. The Sharks subtracted only Tierney from their current NHL roster while adding Karlsson to a roster already studded with stars like Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Brent Burns, Logan Couture, et al.