Rumor: Erik Karlsson Goes East in Massive Trade

Tyler Ball
July 29, 2023  (5:43 PM)

Norris Trophy Winner On His Way Out

Erik Karlsson has called San Jose home since leaving Ottawa in the summer of 2018. After many successful seasons out west and several deep playoff runs, Karlsson looks to be on the move again.
The Sharks are firmly in a rebuild after contending for several years which leaves the aging but still exceptional Erik Karlsson looking for a new home.

Potential Suitors

Many teams have been linked to Karlsson throughout this trade process and he would be an incredible piece for any contender. Many contending teams however are close to the salary cap making Karlsson's 10.5 million dollar contract difficult to fit in.
One team who is throwing everything they can into negotiations is the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins are a team with an aging core looking to lift that trophy one last time. Karlsson would be an excellent fit and bring consistent offensive punch from the back end. With Kris Letang having many different health issues over the years finding a compliment to him and bringing in a game changer like Karlsson is needed.

How can Pittsburgh Get A Deal Done?

According to insider Sheng Peng, Pittsburgh will likely need to get a third team involved to make the money work. In come the Chicago Blackhawks who have plenty of cap space to facilitate a trade.

This potential trade gives each team the following.
Penguins receive: Erik Karlsson with San Jose Retaining $4.5 million (39%).

San Jose receive: Ty Smith, Sam Poulin, and the Penguins' 2025 second-round pick (which would convert to a first if the Penguins win the Cup in 2024 or 2025).

Chicago receive: Jeff Petry and the Penguins 2024 first-round pick.

This trade works out well for all sides it seems. Pittsburgh gets their man at a reasonable cap hit. San Jose gets two former first-round pick prospects, and a top-64 pick in an upcoming draft. Chicago also makes out well in this deal obtaining a future first-round pick and an NHL-level defenseman to help shore up one of the worst defenses in all of hockey while not giving up any assets.