The San Jose Sharks came up just short of making the Stanley Cup Finals this past season and they are set to have a good amount of the same team back but a key part of that team that was set to be a free agent was defenseman Erik Karlsson, but now they will have him back after signing him to a new eight-year deal that will pay him $92 million over the course of the deal.
Karlsson is a great all-around defenseman and it has shown with him making it to six All-Star games and being voted as a starter four times. On top of that he has two Norris trophies, which shows his all-around ability on the ice.
Karlsson is coming off of a regular season in which he only scored three goals and registered 45 points in just 53 games. With that said though he did register 16 points in just 19 playoff games, showing his importance to the team in their run to the Western Conference Finals.
Something that might be concerning to Sharks fans about this deal is that Karlsson only played in 53 games last season and the season before he only played in 71 games. Despite his low number of games played in this past regular season he did register 6.0 point shares, which was only down by 1.2 point shares from his final season in Ottawa and in those limited amount of games he registered more defensive point shares than his final season in Ottawa. So his ability is definitely still at it’s peak, he just needs to stay healthy.
This deal will make Karlsson the third highest-paid player in the NHL based on average salary and it’ll make him the highest-paid defenseman, topping Kings defenseman Drew Doughty by $500,000 on an annual basis.
While this is a lot of money to commit to a defenseman, I think this is a good move for San Jose because Karlsson is so good on both ends of the ice and that’s something he should show again if he is able to stay healthy this season and it’s something his showed in the postseason.
San Jose is also right in the middle of a championship window and having one of the best two-way players in the league will go a long way in helping them try and get over the hump this season as they are bringing back a lot of the more important players from last years team.
It’ll be interesting to see where San Jose goes from this the rest of the offseason. They don’t have very much cap space but they could definitely benefit from upgrading their goaltending from Martin Jones, but to do that they might need to try and pull off a trade because signing a free agent will put them right up against the cap and could limit what kind of moves they could make in-season.
Bringing Karlsson back was however the most important task that the San Jose front office needed to pull off and they did a great job wasting no time in doing that.
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