Major loophole in Karlsson trade could push the all-star D-man back on the market!

You always have to read the fine print...

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The San Jose Sharks want to reassure their fanbase that they pulled the trigger on a multi-player deal for Erik Karlsson because they believe they can sign the all-star defenseman to a long-term contract, general manager Doug Wilson said during a weekend interview.

The former Ottawa Senators captain, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, received an eight-year contract offer from GM Pierre Dorion on July 1, which he is believed to have rejected. Then, the monster trade took place and brought him to San Jose. 

Wilson explained he would have no problem offering Karlsson the max term on his new deal, however, he might have to take a major risk to do so. 

According to NHL insider Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, the Sharks and Karlsson are not allowed to agree to the max term contract before the trade deadline: 

Karlsson, as per the CBA, cannot sign an eight-year extension with the Sharks until after the Feb. 25 trade deadline.

Now, if he doesn’t care about the eighth year and was willing to sign for any number of years below that, he can sign anytime. But one has to assume that if Karlsson decides to stay put in San Jose, it will be for the eight-year, maximum deal.

This is on page 285 of your friendly neighborhood NHL-NHLPA CBA:

“An SPC with a term of greater than seven (7) years, provided, however, that a Club may sign a Player to an SPC with a term of up to eight (8) years if that Player was on such Club’s Reserve List as of and since the most recent Trade Deadline. With respect to potential Unrestricted Free Agents only, the ability to re-sign a Player to an SPC of eight (8) years expires when the Player becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent. With respect to a Player who becomes a Group 2 Restricted Free Agent, a Club may sign such Player to an SPC with a term of up to eight (8) years provided such Player was on such Club’s Reserve List and/or Restricted Free Agent List as of and since the most recent Trade Deadline.”

This is surely a risky clause for the Sharks, who will do everything they can to convince Karlsson to stay long-term in San Jose. During his press conference following the trade, the veteran blue liner noted that he wanted his wife Melinda and he to get to know the city, and see if they could call it home before agreeing on a deal. 

"The question is whether Karlsson will want to re-sign. We’ll perhaps get a better idea around the trade deadline as it turns out."

No risk, no reward, right? 

Let's just hope that the Sharks won't panic ahead of the deadline if Karlsson refuses to talk extension this season, and move the all-star defenseman once again at the deadline.