Report: Sharks continue extension talks with pending UFA Erik Karlsson


San Jose Sharks' Erik Karlsson, of Sweden, is seen during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Blues in St. Louis. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

There’s a long list of stars scheduled to hit the open market when NHL free agency opens on July 1. The San Jose Sharks are no doubt hoping Erik Karlsson‘s name isn’t on it.

According to Kevin Kurz of The Athletic, the Sharks “continue to work at a contract extension” with Karlsson. Kurz is reporting that a potential offer could be similar to the pact made between the Los Angeles Kings and defenceman Drew Doughty last July (eight years, $88 million).

The Sharks acquired Karlsson in a blockbuster trade with the Ottawa Senators prior to the start of the 2018-19 season and have been clear about their hopes of keeping the two-time Norris Trophy winner around. While Karlsson hasn’t explicitly stated his preference about where he’d like to play next season, he has spoken highly of the franchise over the course of the year and clearly struck strong chemistry on what was an elite blue line for the Sharks.

Health has been his biggest struggle; he’s currently recovering from groin surgery to repair an injury that hindered him throughout the second half of the season. Despite the ailment, Karlsson put together an impressive playoff campaign. His 16 points in 19 games this spring, ranked him fourth in points among defencemen this post-season.

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson certainly has his hands full this off-season, with several big names needing new contracts. Captain Joe Pavelski is a soon-to-be UFA, while budding stars Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc are RFAs — and that’s just the short list.

While Wilson is the only GM that can offer Karlsson an eight-year deal, there are some rumblings about other teams that could possibly be in the mix to woo him with a hefty seven-year contract. Earlier this month, Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun reported that Karlsson “hopes to receive competitive offers” from his longtime club, the Senators, and the Montreal Canadiens.

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