Rumours: San Jose Sharks Making Calls to Trade Erik Karlsson

VANCOUVER, CANADA - DECEMBER 27: Erik Karlsson #65 of the San Jose Sharks warms up prior to their NHL game against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on December 27, 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images)

The San Jose Sharks continue making calls regarding a potential trade for defenceman Erik Karlsson. Karlsson’s name swirled in rumours all season long, and as the deadline approaches, things picked up significantly.

San Jose Sharks Making Calls to Trade Erik Karlsson

With another four years left on his current contract, initially an Erik Karlsson trade felt unlikely. He earns $11.5 million annually, more than the vast majority of players in the entire league. Before signing this contract, Karlsson produced double-digit goal totals and nearly scored at a point-per-game pace each season. However, his production fell off dramatically in the years since. That is, until this season.

Suddenly, the resurgent blue-liner registered 41 points through 41 games this season. Karlsson, 32, hasn’t scored at this rate since 2015-16 when he was 25 years old and finished with 82 points in 82 games. That level of production originally justified his price tag. It looks as though teams around the league aren’t experiencing quite the same “sticker shock” that plagued any potential Erik Karlsson trade previously.

The Options

Per the latest episode of TSN’s “Insider Trading”, teams have called and spoken with Sharks’ general manager Mike Grier, specifically regarding Karlsson. That’s more than could be said for the last three years or longer. It also does not change the fact that Erik Karlsson holds all the trade chips here; his full no-move clause means he would have to agree to any trade to any other franchise.

Factors to Consider

So, the stars really need to align for a deal to get done. First off, the team must be willing to pay San Jose the assets they demand for the deal. This, actually, should be the easiest step. At the end of the day, any trade partner can point to his age, salary, and remaining contract term and say, “this will not age well”. After all, Karlsson already dipped once. To think he will carry this elite level of play, a level he hasn’t displayed since his mid-20s, forward through his mid to late 30s? That takes an incredible level of optimism to even fathom.

With that in mind, the Sharks likely won’t demand the kitchen sink in an Erik Karlsson trade, despite the all-star season he’s having. To get a little more for him, they might agree to retain some salary. But after all that, they still then must obtain Karlsson’s buy-in to make the move. This likely means the receiving team would have to be a contender or at least a playoff-bound team on the rise. Karlsson won’t uproot himself to another rebuilding team, he’ll absolutely want to go somewhere with “greener pastures”.

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