Report: Major update on Erik Karlsson trade with Penguins
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Report: Major update on Erik Karlsson trade with Penguins

Sharks GM Mike Grier has seriously overplayed his hand.



Welcome back to the "Summer of Erik Karlsson: Part 2".

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. There simply aren't any teams out there who can absorb Karlsson's full salary cap hit without having to send back some bad contracts in exchange.

The other sticking point is reportedly Sharks GM Mike Grier and his asking price for Karlsson. Penguins insider Josh Yohe of The Athletic reports that Grier has overestimated Karlsson's worth and has potentially cost himself a deal by not making a trade earlier in the offseason.

My sense is the Penguins are indeed the favorite to land Karlsson but that a potential deal would be complicated and ultimately not so satisfying for the Sharks. San Jose general manager Mike Grier appears to have grossly overestimated the return he could receive for the Norris Trophy winner. Sure, Karlsson is an all-time great only a few months removed from one of his signature seasons. His contract is so big, though, and Karlsson’s performance and health have been so uneven in recent years, that other NHL teams believe Grier should be pleased to simply remove his franchise of (the majority of) the contract.

- Josh Yohe

Until either Grier or Dubas blinks, we're all left waiting.

Source: Josh Yohe