San Jose Sharks defenceman Erik Karlsson has been on a roll lately. The 28-year-old now has 41 points in 44 games, a significant shift in fortunes considering how slow his initial start seemed to be sporting the brand new teal sweater.
But now, the Landsbro native is looking like the Karlsson of old. And that means that contract talks take on new dimensions, as the team that signs him next will be getting some prime years from the blueliner.
Karlsson will be 29 on July 1, at which time he’ll theoretically become an unrestricted free agent and test the open market. That may not happen, however, as the Sharks have to be interested in signing their player.
But the two-time Norris winner will fetch a great deal of coin, especially since he’s on pace for his yet another monstrous campaign.
Karlsson has landed here with a lot of adjustment to his new digs, of course. In November, there wasn’t much point in discussing awards or any such thing related to the defenceman. But now, his name is back in the Norris conversation again and he’s picked up the pace. The learning curve is over and Karlsson is a San Jose Shark at long last.
A lot of people believe that it was his return to Ottawa for a game on December 1 of last year that made the difference. He had to put it behind him, so to speak, and that mental hurdle needed a big leap. Since that date, the Sharks have been rolling and so has Karlsson.
Now, Karlsson has been eligible to re-up with San Jose since the first of the year but there are details. If the Sharks want him signed to an eight-year deal, that means they’ll have to hold off until the end of February. They can sign him for seven before that, but it looks like eight years is the desired outcome.
The team and their player intend on discussing this matter shortly after the All-Star break, with general manager Doug Wilson rather high on his player. He’s on record comparing this to the Evander Kane situation in that Karlsson represents the future of where he wants his franchise to be.
“You have to make it be a place the player wants to play, filling in all of the ingredients that they’re looking for in their decision-making process,” said Wilson. “He’s expressed that to us, that we are a place he’d like to be, and same thing [for] us back to him. We’d love him to be here long-term.”
So, can the Sharks make that happen? Most signs point to yes. Karlsson does seem pleased with the situation in San Jose and a deep playoff run will only confirm that he’s made the right decision if he signs something big in February. In the meantime, his play only drives up his value and generates interest around the league should Wilson and Co. do the unthinkable.