While the San Jose Sharks have acquired a goaltender, they are still looking to trade their best player.
The Sharks acquired goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood from the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. They are still looking to trade defending Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson to a contender.
«He would like the opportunity to compete for the Stanley Cup,» general manager Mike Grier said. «I understand that and his timeline, where he is in his career, doesn’t match up with where we are in our process of piecing this together.»
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Grier has talked to his colleagues about Karlsson since before the trade deadline last season, but it’s a tough move to pull off. Karlsson is 33 years old and is under contract for four more seasons at the fifth-highest ever in the NHL: $11.5 million.
And it won’t be a pure salary dump like other moves made in the NHL this week, including Boston sending Taylor Hall to Chicago for the rights to two inexperienced defensemen and St. Louis getting Kevin Hayes from Philadelphia for a sixth-round pick. round. . Karlsson’s price will be higher.
After winning the Norris on Monday night for the third time in his career, Karlsson expressed his desire to play for a team that can win the Cup.
«I still feel like I had a fantastic year and felt good all the time, but I feel like there’s more to it,» Karlsson said. «That’s what makes me excited to move forward.»
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Karlsson would be the first reigning Norris winner traded since Montreal sent Doug Harvey to the New York Rangers in 1961.
The big question is what it will take. After the Flyers withheld half of Hayes’ salary for the next three years, Grier said he wouldn’t do that to move Karlsson.
Because? «Because it’s a lot of money?» Grier said.
«Eric is a special player,» he added. «He’s on his way to becoming a Hall of Fame player. He’s healthy. I think he showed he was healthy last year. He’s a special player who pushes the offense like few others in this league.»
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Karlsson had 25 goals and 76 assists last season. He was the first defenseman to surpass 100 points in a season since Brian Leetch in 1991-92.
When Grier held a video call with reporters, he wasn’t ready to comment on the Blackwood acquisition, a trade that was announced soon after. San Jose sent a sixth-round pick, No. 164, to New Jersey for the 26-year-old goalie.
Blackwood was no longer in the Devils’ plans to move forward due to the presence of Vitek Vanecek and Akira Schmid, who helped them reach the second round of the playoffs.