Prime Erik Karlsson was a deal with to observe, and regardless of a tricky yr for the San Jose Sharks, EK65 is giving us a few of his greatest hockey in years. The 32-year-old has a whopping 10 objectives, 12 assists and 22 factors in simply 17 video games whereas averaging greater than 25 minutes per recreation, his highest mark since arriving in San Jose.

With the Sharks nowhere close to playoff rivalry and leaning extra towards rebuilding than ever, Karlsson’s obvious return to kind abruptly makes his $11.5M cap hit look extra palatable on the commerce market, nonetheless with some retention on San Jose’s facet. General supervisor Mike Grier informed’s Nicholas Cotsonika that he’ll “listen” to gives on Karlsson earlier than this season’s March 3 commerce deadline.

As Grier famous in his interview, a second blockbuster commerce involving the Swede received’t be an easy course of. Karlsson has a full no-movement clause in his contract and controls the result of any potential commerce. Despite the contractual hurdles to transferring him, although, Grier was nothing however complimentary of Karlsson’s play:

“He’s a dynamic participant. To me, he’s most likely one of many three greatest offensive defensemen within the league, and he’s been nice for us. He’s accomplished the whole lot we’ve requested so far as preparation, working towards, enjoying. He’s been nice. So possibly there’s a situation the place a staff comes asking for him [in a trade], as a result of I do suppose he’s a difference-maker. He’s somebody who can go on the market and win you a recreation — or win you a sequence, for that matter — so possibly one thing will come up down the street. We’ll see.”

Karlsson can completely be the difference-maker Grier claims. Karlsson acquired Norris Trophy votes in eight straight seasons from 2011-12 to 2018-19, together with trophy wins in 2012 and 2015. During that timeframe, Karlsson notched 492 factors in 545 video games, main the league’s defensemen in assists and factors.

Injuries have been a continuing throughout his previous couple of years in San Jose, although, and his play, whereas nonetheless commendable, hasn’t been on the actually elite degree he displayed in his prime with the Ottawa Senators. But in simply 17 video games this season, Karlsson’s already matched his whole level output from two seasons in the past in 52 video games.

With so many groups near or above the wage cap utilizing long-term injured reserve, nevertheless, transferring Karlsson to a contender shall be a problem, even at a 50% retention price of $5.75M per season. It’s unlikely a 3rd staff can be keen to tackle one other 50% hit ($2.785M) till 2027 with out vital compensation, although, a a lot totally different ask than we’ve seen in previous comparable three-team trades.

If Karlsson retains up even 75% of his torrid tempo to start out the season, although, he stays a top-flight defender who can remodel a staff’s probabilities of profitable a Stanley Cup for the higher.

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