Major update in Karlsson trade talks out of Pittsburgh
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Major update in Karlsson trade talks out of Pittsburgh

Let's go!



Much like the summer of 2018, the summer of 2023 is now officially 'Erik Karlssson Trade Watch Season'.

The San Jose Sharks defenseman has reportedly requested a trade and GM Mike Grier has been working the phones trying to move the reigning Norris Trophy winner and his anchor of a contract. Rumor reports from multiple sources have indicated that the Carolina Hurricanes, Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs are all frontrunners in Karlsson trade talks with recent reports that the Hurricanes may have dropped out of the running.

To me, the team that makes the most sense in the Penguins. And I'm not alone in that thinking, team captain Sidney Crosby also endorses a move to acquire Karlsson and said as much to Penguins insider Rob Rossi.

From Rossi's latest column for The Athletic:

Captain Sidney Crosby and top defenseman Kris Letang have endorsed acquiring Karlsson. Letang would remain the Penguins’ No. 1 defenseman and work on the top pairing. He is willing to change his role on the top power-play unit so Karlsson could quarterback it.

With the likes of Crosby and Kris Letang on board, it's full steam ahead for GM Kyle Dubas to make a deal.

And why wouldn't he?

Yes, Karlsson's contract carries a lot of risk with it, but the Penguins owe it to themselves to get back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs so long as Crosby, Letang and Evgeni Malkin are members of its core. You simply cannot waste years with these guys in your lineup and the biggest hole on the Penguins' roster, arguably, is on defense. By acquiring Karlsson, the Penguins would gain literally the best defenseman in the league to help them run a world class powerplay. The sticking point, of course, is Karlsson's $11.5 million cap hit for the next four seasons.

The thing is though... the Penguins can afford it.

If Dubas can convince Grier to take both Mikael Granlund (two years at $5 million per season) and Jeff Petry (two years at $6.25 million) then the money lines up almost perfectly. Obviously, the Sharks wouldn't gain much back in terms of future assets in a deal like this, but they'd free up salary down the road and they'd finally be able to turn the page on all of the drama surrounding a potential Karlsson deal. The Penguins would certainly have to worry about Karlsson's contract down the road, but that's a problem to deal with after this team's competitive window expires.

Thoughts, Pens fans?

Source: Rob Rossi