Swedish standout Erik Karlsson, pictured March 2018, is a five-time NHL All-Star who won top NHL backline honours in 2012 and 2015
Ottawa (AFP) - Sweden’s Erik Karlsson, twice a Norris Trophy winner as top NHL defenceman, was traded Thursday by the Ottawa Senators to the San Jose Sharks in a 10-player deal.
The 28-year-old standout, was named the top defenceman and won a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, is a five-time NHL All-Star who won top NHL backline honours in 2012 and 2015.
“I’m just going to speak from my heart. I wish we were standing here in different circumstances,” Karlsson said. “It’s a very emotional and sad day for me and my family, but it’s an unfortunate part of the business.
“I haven’t really still wrapped my mind around what is really going on. It has been happening really fast, even though there has been a lot of noise for almost a year now. But again, I never, in my wildest imagination, ever thought that I was going to leave this place.”
The Senators, his only club in nine NHL campaigns, offered him a contract extension in July but he would not re-sign with Ottawa. Tampa Bay and Dallas reportedly made offers for him in July but it’s only on the brink of pre-season contests that a deal was completed.
“I also want to thank the San Jose Sharks for everything that they have done to acquire me,” Karlsson said. “I’m going to be extremely excited once I get there and I’m looking forward to whatever is ahead of me.”
Ottawa also sent left wing Francis Perron to the Sharks while obtaining in return forwards Chris Tierney and Rudolfs Balcers, defenceman Dylan DeMelo, the rights to unsigned forward Joshua Norris a first-round pick in the 2019 or 2020 NHL Draft, a 2019 second-round pick and two other picks to be finalized later.
Karlsson had nine goals and 53 assists in 71 games for Ottawa last season. He has led or shared the lead in total points for the Senators in each of the past five campaigns.
“It’s extremely rare that players of this calibre become available,” Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said. “The word ‘elite’ is often thrown around casually, but Erik’s skill set and abilities fit that description like few other players in today’s game.”