Erik Karlsson’s name has been in the rumor mill for a year now. And if he has his way, the move will happen sooner rather than later.
Erik Karlsson wants a trade as soon as possible but will not put a timeline on it. Plenty of interest. Says his choice will be based entirely on which team gives him the best chance to lift a Stanley Cup.
— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) June 25, 2023
Talking to media ahead of the NHL Awards on Monday, Karlsson addressed the rumors about what’s going to happen next. Karlsson is the frontrunner to win the Norris Trophy after becoming the sixth defenseman to tally 100 points in a single season, finishing with 101 points in 82 games.
But after five years with the San Jose Sharks, mostly with mixed results, Karlsson could be on his way out.
“Time is running out,” Karlsson said. “I played with too many guys throughout my career, amazing players and should be winners and should have won, that never did. I don’t want to be that guy. I want to win.”
Karlsson helped the Sharks to the third round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2018-19, capping off a season marred by injuries. But the Sharks haven’t made the playoffs since, with Karlsson failing to stay healthy. But Karlsson played 82 games for the first time since 2015-16 this year, looking like the peak Karlsson that propelled him to superstar status during his time in Ottawa.
“I’m the best when you need to be the best,” Karlsson said. “But if I don’t have the chance to get to the place where you need to play the big games, then I might as well not do it. I could go through 82 games a year and be good, but I want to play when it matters.”
Karlsson has an $11.5 million cap hit until 2027, so the Sharks would likely have to take on some cap hit to make it work. The Sharks have $14.079 million in projected cap space for 2023-24, with no high-end free agents to worry about. San Jose holds the fourth pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, set to take place in Nashville on Wednesday.