02/29/2024

VGK:

4

BOS:

5

Final

CAR:

4

CBJ:

2

Final

NYI:

5

DET:

3

Final

MTL:

3

FLA:

4

Final

BUF:

3

TBL:

2

Final

ARI:

2

TOR:

4

Final

WPG:

1

DAL:

4

Final

MIN:

1

NSH:

6

Final

COL:

5

CHI:

0

Final

PIT:

0

SEA:

2

Final

LAK:

5

VAN:

1

Final

ANA:

6

SJS:

4

Final

03/01/2024

ARI:

5

OTT:

3

Final

PHI:

2

WSH:

5

Final

NJD:

3

ANA:

4

Final

03/02/2024

WPG:

5

CAR:

3

Final

FLA:

4

DET:

0

Final

EDM:

2

SEA:

1

Final

COL:

1

NSH:

5

Final

MIN:

1

STL:

3

Final

VGK:

2

BUF:

7

Final

OTT:

2

PHI:

4

Final

MTL:

3

TBL:

4

Final

NYR:

3

TOR:

4

Final

BOS:

1

NYI:

5

Final

CBJ:

5

CHI:

2

Final

SJS:

2

DAL:

3

Final

PIT:

3

CGY:

4

Final

03/03/2024

ARI:

5

WSH:

2

Final

NJD:

1

LAK:

5

Final

WPG:

5

BUF:

2

Final

SJS:

3

MIN:

4

Final

VAN:

2

ANA:

1

Final

PIT:

1

EDM:

6

Final

03/04/2024

VGK:

0

CBJ:

0

07:00 ET

FLA:

0

NYR:

0

07:00 ET

STL:

0

PHI:

0

07:00 ET

BOS:

0

TOR:

0

07:00 ET

CHI:

0

COL:

0

09:00 ET

SEA:

0

CGY:

0

09:30 ET

03/05/2024

FLA:

0

NJD:

0

07:00 ET

CBJ:

0

PIT:

0

07:00 ET

EDM:

0

BOS:

0

07:30 ET

STL:

0

NYI:

0

07:30 ET

MTL:

0

NSH:

0

08:00 ET

SEA:

0

WPG:

0

08:00 ET

CHI:

0

ARI:

0

09:00 ET

VAN:

0

LAK:

0

10:30 ET

DAL:

0

SJS:

0

10:30 ET

03/06/2024

BUF:

0

TOR:

0

07:00 ET

DET:

0

COL:

0

09:30 ET

OTT:

0

ANA:

0

10:00 ET

Why The San Jose Sharks Won The Erik Karlsson Trade

“Sharks got fleeced.” “Horrible return.” “Dubas masterclass.” Enough is enough. Here’s why the San Jose Sharks were the winners of the Erik Karlsson trade. 

In a blockbuster trade that has drawn varied opinions, Sharks’ GM, Mike Grier, has orchestrated a trade that may be a turning point for the team’s future. 

Grier Masterclass

By sending Erik Karlsson to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Mike Grier has effectively freed up cap space and acquired valuable assets, providing the Sharks with a new sense of flexibility and opportunity.

Before we dig in, let’s get something straight. Hoffman, Granlund, nor Rutta will be on this team whenever San Jose wins the Cup. It’s that simple, they’re just not going to be. I can’t see them even being on the team in just three years. So instead of viewing the players at face value, it’s smarter to view them as the potential they can bring to the team. Maybe teachers for the young guys, future draft picks, prospects, who knows?

And while parting ways with a talented player like Karlsson is never easy, Grier’s decision reflects a strategic approach towards rebuilding the team. 

To me, I don’t see it as a mastermind move by Pittsburgh. The way I see it, it appears the Penguins got impatient with the trade and caved, but Mike Grier stood strong and didn’t let GM Kyle Dubas and the Penguins scare him into making a bad trade.

https://twitter.com/penguins/status/1688214361276370944?s=46&t=G97eJK2Z2F0ww_A1DbF-Jw
Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Penguins

Grier was smart to understand that they’re not the only ones with leverage. 

Pittsburgh is the one desperate for that last Cup run, and they’re the ones that need to take a risky bet, which is exactly what Erik Karlsson is.

And that’s evident in the fact that San Jose walked away with enormous cap space (only $1.5mil retained), a first-round pick, and tradable assets. There was no fleece here.

The Penguins are the oldest team in the league, with an average age of 30.1 years. With Crosby’s waning career and the rest of the teams’ older age, there is significantly more pressure on the Penguins… not San Jose. 

Looking Foward

By shedding Karlsson’s high-value and lengthy contract, Grier has set the stage for future flexibility, crucial during their rebuilding phase. From the trade, San Jose was able to acquire a valuable first-round draft pick, a cornerstone asset for any team in the rebuilding process. 

This sets up San Jose to potentially have three first-round draft picks for the 2024 NHL draft. With a good tank, a mediocre Penguins season, and an Eastern Conference Final berth for the Devils, the Sharks could potentially end up with Mack Celebrini, as well as two other talented first-rounders they so desperately need. 

At his media availability, Grier had this to say: “Having some cap flexibility and financial flexibility was really important for us going forward.”

https://twitter.com/sanjosesharks/status/1688213499338698752?s=46&t=G97eJK2Z2F0ww_A1DbF-Jw
Full Trade via San Jose Sharks

Some critics claiming that San Jose got the short end of the stick overlook the bigger picture: Karlsson’s contract would have become an albatross for the Sharks in the coming years.

Moreover, the trade allowed the Sharks to acquire middle-six wingers like Hoffman and Granlund, giving the team more options come trade deadline time and enhancing the overall depth of the squad. Those guys can be flipped at the deadline for assets, something the Sharks could definitely use right now. 

And not only that, but those seasoned veterans can teach a thing or two to the young guys San Jose currently has.

Furthermore, acquiring defenseman Rutta also addressed a much-needed void on the blue line left by Karlsson’s departure. And while the goaltending situation remains uncertain, Grier’s focus on building a well-rounded team for this season bodes well for the growth and development of the rookies in the organization.

Most importantly, the huge amount of cap space opens up really exciting possibilities for the Sharks in the future. 

Give Grier Some Credit

No one excepted San Jose to retain any less than 40% on Karlsson’s contract. Yet Grier and the Sharks managed to retained less than 15% of Karlsson’s contract. It’s honestly just impressive.

Ultimately, Mike Grier’s calculated approach to the Erik Karlsson trade sets the San Jose Sharks on a path towards a brighter future.

By acquiring valuable assets, securing cap space, and strategically planning for upcoming drafts and free agency, Grier is laying the foundation for a successful rebuild. As the team embraces this new chapter, Sharks fans can rest assured that their future is in capable hands. 

Sam Chacon

Sam Chacon is a Target Analyst serving the U.S. Air Force, and an aspiring writer for Inside the Rink covering the San Jose Sharks, Vegas Golden Knights, and the Norfolk Admirals

7 thoughts on “Why The San Jose Sharks Won The Erik Karlsson Trade

  1. Thanks for this well reasoned take. Once EK announced that he wanted a trade, there’s only so much Grier could do. I think he and the Sharks come out smelling like roses, more rebuilding capital and doing right by the player’s wishes.

    1. Everyone seems to forget that a year ago literally no one thought Karlsson’s contract was moveable. The real genius was how the Sharks spent a year changing that. Keeping him healthy (for once), and inflating his numbers were priorities over winning. So they let him play like an extra forward all year, gave him practically no PK time, and no defensive duties. Just let him go out there, not get hurt, take as many high risk plays as he wanted, and rack up points while the team tanked. And it worked. They moved an unmovable contract, and people are dumb enough to think they got fleeced.

  2. This is positively the most homer, biased article from someone desperate to find some positives from this trade. It’s so pitiful that it’s almost funny. Yes, they shed some cap space, but then they took practically all of it back with granlund and rutta, 2 decent albeit expendable parts. And what on earth do you think you’ll get in return for either if you decide to trade them??? I got news for you: it ain’t gonna be anything close to a 1st round pick. They’re aging, ok players with albatross contracts. There’s a reason the Pens couldn’t find a decent trade beforehand. You basically traded Karlsson for a 1st round pick and a couple journeyman players on the way out. The cap space situation is almost a wash. I’m not saying the sharks got fleeced, but it’s a total joke that anyone would think this trade happened bc of Grier’s master class of patience and foresight. That. Is. A. Total. Joke.
    The fact is, he got whatever he could muster bc he waited too long to trade Karlsson and there were minimal teams that had the space to put Karlsson. Plus, he was hard core set on not playing in San Jose next season and was only willing to go to a couple teams. SJ had basically zero options. They got all that they were ever gonna get, and that’s it. Painting this as some Grier master move is a complete joke. I’ll put it this way: you are the ONLY one who thinks otherwise.

    1. I disagree. Karlsson’s contract is for another 4 years, at $10M per. I think Rutta’s is over in 1 and the other two in 2. EK65 won’t repeat last year’s performance (most likely) and will only degrade, or get reinjured as he is prone to do. Also, Granlund and Hoffman have an opportunity to look pretty good to other teams come trade time, considering they’re going to be sharing ice-time with a lot of young players still finding their NHL legs. I think The Sharks could get a decent return for any one of the three, especially if they are packaged with Couture or Vlassik or something like that. I hope for the best for Karlsson, but I think The Sharks won this one.

  3. Appreciate the optimism expressed in the article. Imo this is a very poor trade, one of the worst in recent sharks history. Let me explain:

    I think it’s a terrible deal for the sharks. We basically got a low 1st pick for a high 3rd rounder and received a couple older rental pieces and gave up a younger prospect. I get that you want to get rid of EK65 but you have to get more out of him, especially since he just won the Norris. Who cares about holding on to more salary for 3-4 years. What are we gonna do with that money in the next 3-4 years? We don’t have the team or any depth so any talented acquisition would be useless in the short term. Best option would have been to leverage our ability to keep salary in exchange for more picks/prospects

    We should commit to sucking the next couple years and get some good prospects and high draft picks. Then at year 4 or 5 we’ll have some good developed prospects and cap space. But this no-man’s-land deals will keep us as a bubble team for 10 years, it sucks.

    And as a fan you have to accept that Wilson tried (pretty well I have to say) the win now mentality and mortgaged the longer term and the window passed. Problem is that we can’t accept it and want to somehow be competitive in the short term but it’s an bad strategy

    1. Could not the cap space be used to take on bad contracts at TDL when teams are desperate to add and often in need of a place to dump poor contracts to upgrade— a time when teams pay more. So you ship off Hoffman for a 4th but then you take on a bad contract for a 2nd or more. Now you got a 1st, 2nd, 4th for a 3rd, crappy 2020 prospect. But more good news, can rinse repeat with 2 more guys next year! Or perhaps add prospects over picks… this is the non face value that the author is trying to point out. I do not think it is as great of trade as author is pushing! But it is a solid move, whether us arm chair GM would have done something different cannot hate it just cause you think or have different view of what they should do… you can say it s solid and point out your suck for 4+ years is a better one.

  4. The first thing I noticed when I read the news was that we only retained $1.5m of his salary – on its own that is a win. The 1st rounder good, the other players? who cares, we can get rid of them pretty qiuckly. We spent $40m+ on him over 4 seasons and got nothing from him. He only performs well when he is the big gun, he has to be the center of attention. I believe this was a major contributing factor to his mediocre performance in addition to the injuries that he carried.

    We now need to figure out a way to get rid of Vlasic, and get Couture and Hertl to perform to the level of their contracts.

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