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Sharks Acquire Erik Karlsson in Blockbuster

Sharks Acquire Erik Karlsson in Blockbuster

The San Jose Sharks made major NHL news today when they acquired 2 Time-Norris winner Erik Karlsson. These are the details of the trade per cap friendly,

At a glance, this seems like a lot to give up even for Erik Karlsson. However, and with all due respects to the names listed when you look at the quality of pieces changing hands Doug Wilson and the Sharks did very well. They were able to get Erik Karlsson without giving up Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier or Ryan Merkley. An absolute coup for Doug Wilson

What the Sharks Lost – NHL Pieces

Chris Tierney was pretty much a lock to play 3rd line center for the Sharks this year and will likely to be asked to play higher in the line up for the Senators. The senators, in my opinion, have a pretty glaring hole in their 2nd line center position but putting Tierney there is likely going to be a big ask.  In 284 NHL games, Tierney has scored 41 goals, 63 assists for 104 pts. He is a player that needs to be surrounded by some talent to be effective.

The immediate question is who will now play in the Sharks at third line center. They do have some options coming out of camp. The first is having Tomas Hertl fill that position. This, of course, means that Logan Couture will have to be much better in the faceoff circle without having Hertl to come in and take draws. Other options would include rookies Antti Soumela and Dylan Gambrell although I’m not sure either is ready to play above the fourth line at this time.

Dylan DeMelo was in the Sharks plans, then out and then back in only to be moved. DeMelo was again likely a lock to play on the bottom pair with Brenden Dillon to start the season. With Erik Karlsson coming in DeMelo would likely have been pushed out of the line up regardless of if he remained or not. Dylan DeMelo is a serviceable depth defenceman who will be able to fill a similar role on the Senators.

With a Sharks’ defense group that now includes Karlsson, the question is who will play where. With Burns, Braun, and Karlsson all being right-shot defenceman, will one of them be forced to play their offside or is a player like Braun going to be forced to the bottom pair. The idea of a Karlsson-Vlasic top pair is pretty drool-worthy.

What the Sharks Lost – Prospect Pieces

Make no mistake when it comes to scoring threats, the Sharks gave up an excellent prospect in Rudolfs Balcers. Balcers was likely going to spearhead the Barracuda offense this season. In the NHL, that is another matter entirely. I think Balcers was a dark horse to make the team out of camp and may get an NHL look earlier for a pretty thin Senators line up. With the Sharks top-six pretty locked up it would have been difficult to Balcers to make an impact on the Sharks NHL roster any time soon. I will say this could be the piece that Sens fans may warm up to down the road when the immediate sting of losing Karlsson passes.

Josh Norris is yet to make the jump to pro-hockey and is currently playing in the NCAA. A pick that many Shark fans initially rolled their eyes at, Norris has made strides and some pundits (including yours truly) have come around on the kid. The question now of course is will he sign with the Senators and turn pro or will he be a name to watch at an August 15th deadline in an upcoming summer.

The Picks

2019 second round pick (the highest of what they own.) The 2019 draft will certainly be a snoozer for Sharks fans.

2020 Conditional first round pick. Let’s call this the Mike Hoffman clause, if the Sharks turned around and either delt Karlsson to an eastern conference team or does not sign an extension in San Jose and goes east as a free agent the Sharks will forfeit their 2020 first round draft pick.

2021 Conditional second round pick. If the sharks resign Karlsson, they give up a 2021 second round pick. If they make the Stanley Cup this year, it becomes a first round pick with no lottery protection.

The Elephant In the Room

The key now is whether Erik Karlsson signs an extension in San Jose. This move definitely puts the Sharks in the Stanley Cup conversation this year and easily makes them the best team in the Pacific. Securing him to a long-term deal keeps the Sharks in that conversation going forward beyond the end of the Joe Thornton era. Even at one year of Karlsson, I still like the trade, but losing a player like Balcers may haunt the team down the road if this is the case. It seems incredibly unlikely though that the Sharks would make such a move without an extension in mind and I would not be shocked to see one signed in the coming days. The future cap implications though are fascinating.

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  1. Pingback: Interview: Drew Remenda - Edmonton Oilers Sportsnet Analyst - Teal Town USA

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