Erik Karlsson has taken his name off the 2019 free-agent board before even hitting the open market. The Norris-winning defenseman has agreed to re-sign with the San Jose Sharks rather than test free agency.
The team made the news official on Monday, announcing Karlsson getting an eight-year deal.
According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the eight-year max deal will come with an average annual value of around $11.5 million, bringing the total sum to around $92 million.
"I'm super excited to continue my journey with the Sharks," said Karlsson in a team release. "Since my first day here, I have only good things to say about the people, organization and the fans. The entire Bay Area has been extremely welcoming to me and my family. I appreciate that and we can't wait to spend the next eight years in San Jose.
"As far as hockey goes, I'm excited to continue the chase for the ultimate prize: the Stanley Cup. Last year was an unbelievable run but we didn't achieve what we set out to do. But the dedication I witnessed from my teammates, coaches, staff and organization showed me that we all have a great future ahead of us, and that we are capable of fighting for that championship year in and year out."
Extending Karlsson is be a big-time coup for the Sharks and general manager Doug Wilson, who took a risk by trading for Karlsson on an expiring deal last September. It appears that both sides enjoyed their year together and are interested in continuing the relationship.
Karlsson, 29, only played in 53 games this past season as he battled injuries -- mainly, a lingering groin issue -- in San Jose. As a result, his numbers took a dip (three goals, 42 assists) but, when healthy, he looked like a great fit for the Sharks' attack and showcased his game-breaking abilities as a facilitator on the blue line.
The addition of Karlsson made an already fearsome Sharks team that much more dangerous. San Jose overcame league-worst goaltending during the regular season and still finished with 101 points in the standings, good enough for second-most in the West. They advanced to the Western Conference Final before ultimately falling to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Blues in six games.
At his best, Karlsson is a generational talent on the blue line. He's an incredible skater and passer with tremendous vision. The Swedish defenseman has won the Norris trophy as the league's best defenseman twice and has finished runner-up two additional times
Karlsson's big cap hit will make it difficult for the team to bring back some other names from last year's roster that are in search of new deals -- including Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Joonas Donskoi, Timo Meier (RFA) and Gustav Nyquist. According to CapFriendly, the Sharks will have a projected cap space of about $12.5 million after Karlsson's deal is added to the books.
Also, the Ottawa Senators will receive a 2021 second-round pick from San Jose as a provision of the deal that sent Karlsson to the Sharks last fall. That means the Sharks will only have two first-or-second round draft picks over the next three years, further signifying they are in total "win now" mode.