After months of speculation and rumors, Erik Karlsson was finally traded on Thursday, dealt to the San Jose Sharks from the Ottawa Senators.
Karlsson joins the Sharks along with prospect forward Francis Perron, the team announced. The Senators received a conditional 2019 second round selection and a 2020 first round pick along with forward Chris Tierney, defenseman Dylan DeMelo, and prospects Josh Norris, a center, and Rudolfs Balcers, a left wing.
If San Jose re-signs Karlsson after he hits the free agency market next offseason, Ottawa also receives a conditional 2021 second round selection.
"It's extremely rare that players of this caliber become available," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "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. With Erik, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, we feel we have three of the NHL's top defensemen and stand as a better team today than we were yesterday. It's extremely rare that players of this caliber become available. 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. With Erik, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, we feel we have three of the NHL's top defensemen and stand as a better team today than we were yesterday."
A two-time Norris Trophy winner as the NHL’s top defenseman, Karlsson has one year remaining on his current contract at $6.5 million and is said to be seeking a deal similar to the $88 million extension signed by Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings on July 1, and was reportedly given permission to discuss extensions with interested teams on July 2. He has since been linked to trade rumors with numerous teams, including the Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Vegas Golden Knights among them.
One of the league’s premier players, the 28-year-old has 126 goals and 592 points in 627 games over nine seasons since being drafted by the Senators as the 15th pick of the 2008 draft. He also has a silver medal from the 2014 Olympics in Sochi and is a three-time winner of the Viking Award, given annually to the top Swedish player in North America.
The swap ends the tumultuous relationship between Karlsson and the Senators, following the blueliner’s reluctance to provide the team with a ‘hometown discount’ and subsequent trade rumors, as well as a restraining order against the fiancee of former teammate Mike Hoffman filed by Karlsson’s wife in response to alleged long-term harassment. Hoffman ended up being traded to the Sharks and then flipped to the Florida Panthers.