No doubt that it was a disappointing end to the season for Erik Karlsson and the San Jose Sharks. The superstar defenseman was clearly labouring with an injury through the Stanley Cup Playoffs and, as a result, he simply wasn’t able to play at his usually high level.
With free agency on the horizon and with an injury to mend this offseason, the future for Karlsson is very much up in the air, but according to NHL insider Elliotte Friedman a return to the Sharks isn’t out of the question.
Check out these quotes from Friedman, taken from his latest 31 Thoughts podcast on Sportsnet:
“We believe that he’s going to test free agency and see what Tampa can do. But I got a call from somebody who said, ‘You better look into this, because the word at the combine is that San Jose has some… confidence that they were going to get it done.’ Now, Doug Wilson did not get to the combine until late so I haven’t spoke to him.”
“The information I was given was that he (Karlsson) is going through a process right now. I don’t know if San Jose has put an offer on the table or if he knows what it will be, I assume that he knows what he’s going to make if he stays in San Jose and he has to make a decision. I think they’ve asked him to make it known this week because if he doesn’t stay then they have to move on to some other things. And I’m told that Karlsson will make his decision this week.”
“And, what one player in the league told me, who I think knows Karlsson well, is that, ‘You’re not wrong about Karlsson being interested in Tampa Bay, but what if it doesn’t happen?’ What if, for whatever reason, Tampa Bay can’t make it work?”
“I think Erik Karlsson, he liked it more in San Jose than some of us expected and so if Tampa doesn’t work, what happens if San Jose goes away as an option?”
On paper it makes all the sense in the world for Karlsson to stick with the Sharks. They’re a competitive team, they have money to spend and they can truly promise Karlsson the money, the term and the chance to win that he’s looking for. No doubt he’ll receive league-wide interest if he makes it to July 1st, but don’t be too surprised if he ends up inking a deal with the Sharks before he makes it to the open market.