The return includes several picks and prospects. In exchange for Karlsson, the Senators receive four players — forward Chris Tierney, defenceman Dylan DeMelo, and forward prospects Josh Norris and Rudolfs Balcers — as well as a first-round draft pick (2019 or 2020) and a second-round pick in 2019. If the Sharks miss the playoffs in 2018-19, that first-rounder will be in 2019; otherwise, it’s a 2020 first-round pick that will go to Ottawa.
In addition, there are also two conditional picks involved:
The Sharks also acquired forward prospect Francis Perron in the trade.
“Erik is an exceptional hockey player whose skills delighted our fans for the past nine years,” general manager Pierre Dorion said in the Senators’ press release. “We thank him for his dedication to hockey, and we wish him all the best.”
Karlsson had spent his entire career with the Senators since being drafted by the organization in 2008, 15th overall.
The 28-year-old has won two Norris Trophies and has led Ottawa to within a goal of the Stanley Cup Final, ultimately losing in overtime of Game 7 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2017.
He has just one year remaining on his contract and is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency on July 1. With the Senators organization unravelling over the course of the 2017-18 season and suffering significant turmoil this off-season, it appeared unlikely that the slick-skating blue-liner would be in Ottawa much longer.
“It’s extremely rare that players of this caliber become available,” Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said in the team’s press release. “The word ‘elite’ is often thrown around casually but Erik’s skillset and abilities fit that description like few other players in today’s game. With Erik, Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, we feel we have three of the NHL’s top defencemen and stand as a better team today than we were yesterday. We are thrilled to welcome Erik and his wife, Melinda, to San Jose.”
“Ultimately, to acquire a player like this, you have to give to get and we are losing some quality players but also some very good people,” Wilson continued. “All of the players leaving our organization have a very bright future in this league and we wish them all the best.”
The Senators are entering a full rebuild, with owner Eugene Melnyk announcing his intentions to bring plenty of fresh faces into the lineup in the coming seasons during a sit-down interview with defenceman Mark Borowiecki released by the team earlier this week.
The video only furthered speculation around Karlsson’s relationship with the team, as Melnyk did not include a single mention of the captain as he spoke of the club’s vision for the future.
Karlsson scored nine goals (his lowest full-season total) and registered 53 assists for 62 points in 71 games in 2017-18. In 627 career regular season games over nine seasons with Ottawa, he has tallied 126 goals and 518 points.
Tierney, 24, is coming off a career-best year with the Sharks which saw him score 17 goals and 40 points in 82 games in 2017-18. The Keswick, Ont., native has registered 41 goals and 104 points in 284 career regular season NHL games since being drafted in the second round (55th overall) in 2012.
“Chris has everything we want in a Senator. He’s talented, hard-working, and a strong leader,” Dorion said in the team’s release. “He is coming into his own as an NHL player and his best years are in front of him.”
DeMelo, 25, is also coming off his best season, with 20 assists to his name through 63 games last season while providing depth on defence.
“Dylan is a strong, determined player. He is a competitor and made significant strides last season. He will fit in well with our style of play,” Dorion said.
Norris was the Sharks’ first-round pick (19th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft, and is known for his two-way game and production. We saw that last season during his freshman campaign with the NCAA’s Michigan Wolverines when he tallied 23 points in 67 games, as well as during his time representing the United States on the international stage.
Balcers was selected by the Sharks in the fifth round (No. 142 overall) of the 2015 draft. The 21-year-old winger led the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda in goals (23) and points (48) as a rookie last season.
“Rudolfs has excellent puck stills and possesses an outstanding shot, with a great release. He is a dynamic player that wants to have the puck and has exceptional quickness,” said Dorion.