Erik Karlsson is on the move.
"It's extremely rare that players of this caliber become available", Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. Karlsson played nine seasons in Ottawa. Ottawa gets a second-round choice in the 2019 draft from San Jose (which will be the higher of the two picks the Sharks now own - the Florida Panthers' and their own). If San Jose re-signs Karlsson, Ottawa receives a conditional 2021 second-round selection - or a first-round pick (not lottery protected) if the Sharks reach the Stanley Cup final in 2019.
Normally, a trade between teams out of Colorado's division and not involving them would just be fun fodder for dissecting the deal but this one actually has a chance to have a significant impact on the Avalanche. The move comes on the eve of the first on-ice session at Senators training camp.
The Senators took the unusual step of releasing a video late Monday night with defenceman Mark Borowiecki interviewing owner Eugene Melnyk, who made it clear the team was ready to rebuild. "So for that I will forever be grateful and happy to be drafted by this team and getting to know this city".
Although the team tried to extend his deal in July, Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said Karlsson turned the offer down. "This trade represents the best opportunity for the Ottawa Senators to rebuild towards a consistent excellence that we are striving for". Over the years, Wilson has acquired players like Thornton, Burns, Kane and Dan Boyle in trades and signed all of them to long-term deals.
However, this is a game of chicken and as an National Hockey League source added: "none of us are quite sure if Dorion has a point he gets serious and moves him for a little less to cut their losses". Burns, 33, remains a top three defenseman option (with Karlsson and Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning) but has been surpassed by Karlsson in the fantasy rankings and is better suited for the 25-30 range overall, compared to his higher ADP (19.5). "We think Erik fits with us now and for a long time". We talked about that when I said that (in June), it was about the whole room being broken and we didn't want to point fingers at one person.
Karlsson had nine goals and 53 assists last season for Ottawa.
The Sharks never let up in their interest in Karlsson and made the addition without giving up a top-six forward or top-four defenseman from the current roster.
More controversy bubbled to the surface in May when former captain and franchise icon Daniel Alfredsson, who left his role with Ottawa as a senior adviser the previous summer, was quoted saying he hopes the team gets a new owner.
"It's very unfortunate that I'm going to have to move on professionally", Karlsson said. Karlsson was already projected to lead all defensemen in points by NHL.com prior to the trade, and now could feasibly challenge his NHL career high of 82 points from 2015-16.