Ottawa Senators trade Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks

The Erik Karlsson saga in Ottawa has finally come to an end, as the Senators agreed to trade the defenseman to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday afternoon.

In exchange Karlsson and Francis Perron, the Sharks will send a first round pick in 2020, a second round pick in 2019, Chris Tierney, Dylan DeMelo, Josh Norris and Rudolfs Balcers to Ottawa in the deal. There are also two conditional picks involved in the deal. 

If the Sharks sign Karlsson to a contract extension, the Senators will receive a second round pick in 2021. That pick will be upgraded to a first round selection if the Sharks reach the Stanley Cup Final this season. If the Sharks flip Karlsson to an Eastern Conference team during this upcoming season, the Senators will receive an additional first round pick from San Jose.  

There have been trade rumors surrounding Karlsson since last season. With the 28-year-old defenseman heading into the final year of his current deal and little progress being made on an extension in Ottawa, where they’re currently undergoing a rebuild, it was widely expected that the Senators would trade their captain and franchise defenseman before the start of the season.

Karlsson is a two-time Norris Trophy winner and a generational offensive talent on the blue line. Since he entered the NHL in 2009-10, no defenseman has scored more points than Karlsson. He has 518 (126 goals, 392 assists) points in 627 NHL games and has finished amongst the NHL’s top-10 leading scorers twice.

He is coming off a tough season in which he may not have been fully healthy following offseason ankle surgery. He scored nine goals (his lowest full-season total) and added 53 assists for 62 points in 71 games.

Karlsson has spent his entire career with the Senators up to this point, having been drafted by Ottawa with the 15th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He led them to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2017 before losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins (the eventual Stanley Cup champs) in overtime of Game 7.

Things have unraveled in Ottawa both on and off the ice since then. The Senators finished near the bottom of the Eastern Conference last season and were plagued by multiple off-ice issues, including a cyberbullying scandal involving Karlsson and teammate Mike Hoffman. (Hoffman was also traded to San Jose this offseason before being flipped to the Florida Panthers.)

In San Jose, Karlsson will join a Sharks defensive corps that already includes Norris-winner Brent Burns. That likely means that the Sharks will either have Karlsson and/or Burns on the ice at most points during this season. The Sharks are hoping that the deal will help push them to playoff glory, something that has been quite elusive in San Jose.

As for the players heading back to Ottawa in the deal, the 24-year-old Tierney and 25-year-old DeMelo took steps forward with the Sharks last year but neither are considered to be great players. Norris, 19, is a 2017 first-round pick with upside. The young center, who spent last season with the Michigan Wolverines, has been lauded for for his IQ and intangibles. Balcers is a 21-year-old Latvian forward who led the Sharks AHL affiliate in goals (25) and points (48) last season.

More to come.

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