After months of rampant speculation and several very close calls, one of (if not the) best defenseman in the world is finally on the move.
Erik Karlsson has officially escaped Satan's grasp and is headed to the San Jose Sharks.
From a return standpoint, it appears the Ottawa Senators, as everyone expected, got taken to town on this deal by Sharks GM Doug Wilson. But the team is apparently excited about prospects Josh Norris (who is said to good friends with Senators 2018 first-round pick Brady Tkachuk) and Rudolfs Balcers, according to Dean Brown of TSN 1200.
The structure of the conditional picks shapes up like this, according to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun:
The Senators will also receive a second-round pick in 2021 or a first-round pick. If the Sharks sign Karlsson, it becomes a first-round pick. If the Sharks miss the playoffs, the Senators will get a first-round pick in 2019, and if they make the postseason the club will get a No. 1 pick in 2020.
We won't know for sure if this deal was OK or not for the Sens for a few years down the road, but, uhh, it definitely wasn't ideal to basically HAVE to trade arguably the best player in franchise history in the middle of his prime—a guy who made it clear he wanted to stay in Ottawa long term.
How on Earth do you mess that up? Oh yeah, by having a couple muppets in Eugene Melnyk and Pierre Dorion running the show.
It's basically a 100-percent guarantee that San Jose will make the playoffs this year, ensuring that Ottawa, which will enter the 2018-19 campaign as a favourite to finish dead last in the NHL, might be the only club in the history of sports to enter its rock-bottom rebuild year WITHOUT a first-round pick. Not a single one. How is this even possible?
Failing to yield a first-rounder in 2019 from this deal is pretty egregious, to say the least, but the franchise literally set itself back at least a half-decade or so when it flipped like 1,400 assets to the Avalanche for Matt Duchene, who, if you've been paying attention, probably isn't going to re-sign with the Sens at the end of this year.
The Senators could have given Colorado their fourth overall selection in this year's draft and kept their pick next year (when they're likely going to finish in the league's basement), but for some reason opted to go the safe route and keep the No. 4 pick this year, completely contradicting, well, everything.
If Duchene doesn't re-sign, they'll have essentially given away a potential first overall pick for (MAYBE) two years of Matt Duchene while they were a go-nowhere team.
From Karlsson's side, it has to be relieving to finally separate himself from this shit show in Ottawa. The circus around the club has been well documented over the last year and as bittersweet as it is to leave a city/fans he loved, it's going to feel like the 28-year-old just stepped out of a rat-infested bottom floor room at a Motel 6 to a penthouse suite at the Hilton.
Here's a little rundown on what's been going on in Ottawa for the past year or so since the Senators made their surprise run to the Stanley Cup Final:
- The team traded a haul of assets including a couple top prospects and a first-round pick, and had to move out Kyle Turris, for Duchene. It was not a good trade.
- Attendance issues prompt owner Eugene Melnyk to threaten to move the team if support didn't improve. He called out fans for not supporting the club. At an outdoor game to celebrate the league's 100th anniversary, to boot.
- That naturally did NOT go over well with the fan base, which turned on the owner with a "Melnyk Out" social media campaign that continues to fester.
- After Karlsson publicly said he would not be taking a hometown discount to remain with the Senators long term, management asked the star blue-liner for his 10-team no trade list for the first time in his career. This made fans even angrier at Melnyk, somehow.
- The arena issue continues to linger as ownership has been unable to secure any type of hope of building a new arena that isn't a half-hour horse and buggy ride outside the city.
- Assistant general manager Randy Lee first resisted, but eventually resigned as a result of sexual harassment allegations.
- Former teammate Mike Hoffman's girlfriend Monika Caryk allegedly created burner accounts to harass Karlsson and his wife Melinda after the death of their newborn child. The two parties are currently in court over this.
- Resulting from those allegations, Ottawa traded Hoffman to the Sharks for essentially nothing just to clean up that mess, before San Jose turned around and flipped the winger to a divisional team in Florida, yielding a better return than Ottawa did originally. Doug Wilson must love dealing with Pierre Dorion.
(*We're positive we're missing something else from this disaster of a year, and continue to feel bad for the fans of this dysfunctional organization.)
Now going back to the Sharks—they are absolutely loaded and primed to make a serious Stanley Cup run this season, with two perennial Norris Trophy contenders manning the blue line in Karlsson and Brent Burns.
Having two elite-skating, puck-movers like No. 65 and No. 8 on the back-end is bound to make a certain 40-year-old bearded legend looking for his first Stanley Cup in the twilight of his career a happy man, too, right?