Sharks, Erik Karlsson begin contract talks

The Hockey Night in Canada panel looks at the biggest news around the league, with the Ottawa Senators apparently offering a contract to Matt Duchene and the Maple Leafs on the hunt for another defenceman.

After an extended feeling-out process, Erik Karlsson and the San Jose Sharks look like a match made in blue-line heaven.

Whether or not that relationship extends beyond this season is still up in the air, but Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported Saturday that talks between team and player are underway.

“His agent, Don Meehan, was down [in Tampa Bay] yesterday to meet with Sharks general manager Doug Wilson, and this is essentially the start of the dialogue on his future,” Johnston said during Saturday’s Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada. “They’d left it through the first half of the season, wanting to give both sides a chance to get comfortable, and now they’re talking a little bit.”

Karlsson hit his stride with the Sharks in early December, and even enjoyed an incredible 14-game point streak (25 points, 24 of which were assists) that took him into the new year. He now has three goals and 40 assists through 47 games this season.

“It’s a little soon to say where this goes in terms of how Erik Karlsson feels, but he’s obviously played better and I know he does appreciate the way the Sharks treated him in his early time there,” Johnston said. “They’re expected to meet again sometime around the All-Star Game or a little bit afterwards.”

Karlsson, who joined the Sharks via trade from the Senators in September, will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

The Sharks were in Tampa Bay for a date with the Lightning, though Karlsson was pulled from the lineup at the last minute due to a “minor injury.”

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