The Erik Karlsson rumor mill is alive and well, with the Swedish defenseman being one of the most popular names on the market right now. In this article, I’m going to take a small dive into a few teams that may be the best fit for him.
Karlsson, 32, currently has 11 goals and 17 assists through 20 games with the Sharks this season. The salary cap will be a huge factor in any trade involving Karlsson, as he has an $11.5M cap hit. Trades will all be tough to pull off, but not impossible.
The Panthers are 9-8-2 to start the season off. While not seeming too bad, they had high expectations coming into the year after a second-round exit last season, so having a win percentage under .500 is something the team will need to address if they want to go back to the playoffs.
Teams that make sense to acquire Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson.
The Panthers’ defensive core currently looks like this:
Forsling – Ekblad
M. Staal – Montour
Mahura – Gudas
With Karlsson being a right-shot D-man, he would likely step into the second-line position where Montour currently is. Strengthening their defensive core would help the Panthers immensely, as it’s been one of the key factors for their losing start.
The Capitals have been absolutely brutal to start the season off. With a 7-10-3 record, the team’s only current bright spot is that Alex Ovechkin hasn’t slowed down as much as everyone expected.
Their defensive game is atrocious, so adding a guy like Erik Karlsson would be extremely beneficial.
The Capitals’ defensive core currently looks like this:
Erik Karlsson would easily step into the second pairing slot, moving Jensen down and van Riemsdyk into a 7th D-man role, and I personally like this fit for Karlsson a lot more.
Karlsson would likely get an opportunity on the first power play with Alex Ovechkin, and I can see those two becoming a lethal combination.
Having a guy like Karlsson in your lineup not only boosts the overall two-way game on the ice but improves locker room chemistry.
The Capitals have struggled with injuries this season with Nicklas Backstrom out long term, TJ Oshie battling through some injuries, and more, so having someone with a positive attitude step in and keep the boys in check would show on the ice, and I think it would bring the Capitals back into a playoff spot.
There are certainly other teams that make sense to acquire Karlsson, but these two make the most sense to me.
Florida and Washington just need one or two more pieces to fix the problems they have, so moving out some money and bringing in a Hall of Fame defenseman who’s having an unbelievable year would likely be the missing piece.
The Edmonton Oilers need defensive help, but I don’t think moving the money around to acquire him makes sense.
The Ottawa Senators also came to mind and the rumors of a reunion have been flying around, but that would mean losing Alex DeBrincat and/or Artem Zub, which would make a little bit of sense if you were going all in for a Stanley Cup, but they aren’t just yet.
I honestly wondered if the Blackhawks would take a look at offering the Sharks Seth Jones in exchange for Karlsson. But in the end, the fit doesn’t make sense for either team.
The Colorado Avalanche have been connected to plenty of big names in the last couple of seasons, and I wonder if they’d even look in the direction of Erik Karlsson.
It would make sense, and he’d probably get his Stanley Cup opportunity, it’s just a matter of whether or not the Avs would want to try and take the risk on a player who may slow down after this season.
Lastly, I thought about the Calgary Flames. Obviously, I don’t think the money would work unless the Sharks wanted to take Milan Lucic for a year before he went back to Calgary or Boston, I just know how well Karlsson would fit into the Flames system.