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Trading for Erik Karlsson

November 18, 2022, 6:02 PM ET [21 Comments]
Sean Maloughney
Edmonton Oilers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Instead of discussing another Oilers loss result that could be traced back to a rough start where the team did not show up for the first 10 minutes resulting in another game of catch up that the team just couldn't quite dig themselves out of... let's instead discuss something that has no chance of ever happening.

Erik Karlsson to the Edmonton Oilers

Mike Greer and the San Jose Sharks are in an excellent position right now... not in terms of making the playoffs but in potentially setting themselves up for a successful future. Unlike most rebuilding teams, the Sharks have almost no cap space to weaponize due to a number of older players on pricey and long term deals. Couture is 33 and makes 8 million for the next 5 years, Vlasic is 35 and makes 7 million for the next 4 years, and Karlsson is 32 and makes 11.5 million for the next 5 years.

Last summer the Sharks were able to get some cap relief, trading the 37 year old Brent Burns, who has 3 years left on his 8 million dollar deal by retaining 2.7 million in cap space and acquiring some mid level prospects in return.

The return for Karlsson right now would be far sweeter. At 32 years old, Karlsson is having a reemergence and Norris worthy season with 28 points (11-17-28) in 19 games, leading all defensemen in goals, assists, and total points. The right shot defenseman is reminding people why for a time he was thought of as one of the top players in the NHL. This begs the question, why would San Jose trade this player?

The simple answer is that the team is likely not going to be able to challenge for a Cup during his remaining tenure and his value will never be higher. A Karlsson trade could net the Sharks a plethora of assets that would give the team a collection of talented NHL ready players and future prospects.

Could the Oilers be the team to provide those assets?

The Edmonton Oilers are in their window to win right now. Ken Holland for better or worse has built this team in a way that they have to compete for a Cup in the next 2-3 years but the team is unbalanced. The forward group is elite but the defensive group is not strong enough and there are big question marks in net which have at least now been reduced by the great play of Stuart Skinner. Edmonton needs help on the blueline and a player that can drive play at 5 on 5, something that Darnell Nurse for all he does well, does not accomplish.

Erik Karlsson is not only showing he is an elite player on the backend but Karlsson could do what he does away from Connor McDavid. Imagine having McDavid up front doing what he does, only to have him step off the ice and have Karlsson on. It's a fun fantasy.

Now the trade itself:

To Edmonton:

Erik Karlsson (5,000,000 retained by San Jose)


To San Jose:

Kailer Yamamoto
Philip Broberg
Xavier Bourgault
2023 1st Round Pick
2024 2nd Round Pick
2025 3rd Round Pick


The Sharks get an NHL forward who scored 20 goals last season and is only 24 years old, Broberg, a former first round pick who is big and mobile and who still has a high ceiling as a top four defenseman, Xavier Bourgault, a recent first round pick winger who is having a strong start to his pro career with the Condors, as well as picks in the next three drafts.

In return the Oilers get a mobile and skilled defender who should be able to give them a massive boost, particularly if they play him away from Connor McDavid and allow him to control the pace of play.

For the Oilers it certainly could be a risk. Is the recent play of Karlsson simply a heater or is he finally being utilized under this new coaching staff in the correct way? Can Edmonton rely on a 32 year old with 4 years left on his deal who has dealt with some serious injuries in the past 5 years? If the Sharks are indeed retaining 5 million as I listed above, that would put him at 6.5 million for the Oilers. Does that help to alleviate some of the risk?

For the record, yes this trade could work and allow the Oilers to still be cap-compliant with the assumption that Tyson Barrie is also moved in a separate deal. Columbus has a brutal powerplay and Werenski is out so how about Barrie to the Blue Jackets for a second round pick. GMing is so easy.

Ultimately this is the cap-compliant roster the Oilers could run once everyone is healthy:

RNH-McDavid-Hyman
Kane-Draisaitl-Puljujarvi
Holloway-McLeod-Foegele
Benson-Ryan-Kostin

Nurse-Ceci
Kulak-Karlsson
Niemelainen-Bouchard
Murray

Skinner
Campbell

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