The suspense is over: Erik Karlsson has left Ottawa.
After what feels like an eternity of speculation, the Senators traded Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks. The blockbuster trade involved eight assets exchanging between the teams, with the possibility to grow to 10 based on two conditional picks for Ottawa.
Departing from the Senators are Karlsson and Francis Perron. In return, Ottawa receives Chris Tierney, Dylan DeMelo, Josh Norris, Rudolfs Balcers, a 2019 or 2020 first-round pick, a 2019 second-round pick, and two conditional picks.
Karlsson, arguably the best defenseman in the world, was the key catalyst in this long-awaited deal. The former Senators captain, All-Star, and two-time Norris Trophy winner has tallied 518 points in 627 games. A former first-round draft pick, Karlsson leads all NHL defensemen with the most points (492) since 2010. His addition to the Shark’s blueline instantly makes San Jose Stanley Cup contenders this season. Karlsson joins fellow Norris Trophy winner, Brent Burns. Burns is second to Karlsson for the most points since 2010.
Perron, 22, is a prospect who once held a lot of potential in the Senators’ system. In the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, he played for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, recording 257 points in 251 games. Unfortunately, his offensive game did not translate well in the American Hockey League (AHL). Over 112 games with the Senator’s AHL affiliate, Perron only collected 41 points. A change of scenery may do him well in the future.
Despite the upset and disappointing reactions from Senator fans across social media, Ottawa Senators general manager, Pierre Dorion, spoke favorably about Ottawa’s return during his post-trade press conference.
Tierney, 24, may immediately receive an opportunity to be Ottawa’s second or third line center. Much depends on the extent of a recent training camp injury received by Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Tierney is a second-round pick of the Sharks from 2012 and recorded 40 points in 82 games last year. Over his career, he has 104 points in 284 games played. This summer, Tierney signed a two-year deal worth a total of $5.875 million.
DeMelo, 25, is a sixth-round pick of the Sharks from 2011. The six-foot-one, 195-pound defenseman has played 133 games, collecting 32 points. Earlier this summer, DeMelo signed a two-year deal worth $1.8 million.
Norris, 19, is a 2017, first-round San Jose pick. Described by Dorion as a ‘three-zone player’, Norris appears to have the making to become a responsible two-way center in the NHL. Last season, he played for the University of Michigan, where he collected 23 points in 37 games. It is noteworthy that Norris is a very close friend of Brady Tkachuk, who was the Senators fourth-overall draft pick this year.
Balcers, 21, is a fifth-round pick of the Sharks from 2015. The Latvia native brings an offensive side to his game, collecting 48 points over 67 games last season with the Shark’s AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda. The year before that, he earned 77 points in 66 games played with the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League.
The Senators also receive a 2019 or 2020 first-round selection, a 2019 second-round selection, and two more conditional picks.
The 2019 or 2020 first-round selection is not lottery protected, and it will be determined on the basis of whether the Sharks make the playoffs in 2018-19. If the Sharks fail to qualify for the post-season, it will be a 2019 first-round selection. Otherwise, it will be a 2020 first-round selection.
The 2019 second-round draft pick will be the higher of the two picks currently owned by San Jose. These are their own second-round pick and a second-round pick acquired from the Florida Panther’s in the Mike Hoffman trade.
With regard to the two conditional picks, the first is contingent on Karlsson re-signing with the Sharks. If this happens, Ottawa will receive San Jose’s second-round pick in 2021, which may upgrade to a first-round selection (not lottery protected) if the Sharks reach the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals. The second conditional pick depends on whether Karlsson ends up on an Eastern Conference roster sometime during this season. If he does, as it did when the Sharks traded former Senator Hoffman to the Florida Panthers an hour after acquiring him from the Senators, Ottawa will receive an additional first-round pick from the Sharks no later than 2022.
The trade officially ends the Karlsson Era in Ottawa. It lasted nine seasons and included some incredible seasons, unexpected playoff runs, and reels of highlights for Karlsson in the red, black, and white. “EK65” was a fan favorite, a well-respected member of the Ottawa community, and a leader both on-and-off the ice.
Billy Morrison covers the Ottawa Senators and the NHL’s Atlantic Division for Full Press Coverage. Follow Bill on Twitter @BillyMorrison01.
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