It was only a few seasons ago that Erik Karlsson was one of the best defensemen in the league. He was a huge reason the Ottawa Senators were one goal away from the Stanley Cup Final in 2017. It seemed like he had found a permanent home in Ottawa, but then the 2018 season happened. The Ottawa Senators seemed like they hit rock bottom after that season and they needed to make some big changes. That included the possibility of moving on from their superstar captain.
One team that had pursued him for a long time was the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks had a veteran team that was more than capable of making a major playoff run. They pulled the trigger and acquired the two-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman in a mega trade. It was clear the Sharks were ready to go all-in on a huge run in the playoffs.
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) September 13, 2018
In his first season with San Jose for the 2018-19 season, Erik Karlsson made them an instant favorite to win the cup. He helped them reach the Western Conference Finals against the eventual champion St. Louis Blues. It seemed like this could be a normal thing in San Jose. Well, that didn’t play out exactly how the Sharks were hoping. It all started last season.
The Horrendous Contract Extention
I knew it would be a disaster for the Sharks when they signed Karlsson to his new contract. Before he could hit the market, Karlsson was snatched up by San Jose with a monster eight-year extension. He will be earning an annual value of $11.5 million per season until the 2026-27 season. That is absurd. Although Erik Karlsson is a very talented offensive player, his defensive skills really lack when it matters most.
Usually, when a player signs a contract like that, you expect some top-end results to go with it. In that first season for Erik Karlsson, he didn’t really live up to the hype around it at all. Granted he was on a depleted Sharks team that was lottery-bound, he needed to be a leader and he wasn’t. He signed that contract to be on a championship-caliber team and so far it has not ended up that way.
In his first season of the contract, Karlsson put up 6 goals and 34 assists. That isn’t too bad for a defenseman, but that is not anywhere close to what someone should put up at $11.5 million. He should be a player that puts up at least 65-70 even on a bad team. Guys like Artemi Panarin and Connor McDavid are making over $11 respectively on mild years because they earned up. Erik Karlsson has not.
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) June 17, 2019
Struggles This Season
You would think during the season after you missed the playoffs horrendously you would come out with flames hooting out your ass. Karlsson has done the opposite of that this season. In 26 games played this season, he has only put up two goals and eight assists. My goodness, that is horrible. Add on top of that a -3 plus/minus rating and you have me sold. Erik Karlsson is not the same player he was in 2017.
His struggles this season have boiled over into the media. Great leaders are not afraid to address the team’s problems when they struggle as the Sharks have. Great leaders also don’t call out the team and basically wish they were not on the team anymore. He is in year two of an eight-year mega extension and it already wishing he was out of San Jose. I love Erik Karlsson as a player, but he made this decision to stay and build something special in San Jose. Now that his vision isn’t going as planned, he is throwing a full-scale temper tantrum.
Does #SJSharks Erik Karlsson want out of San Jose? Sounds like it. In a statement to the media after GM Doug Wilson stated they were going to rebuild, Karlsson had this to say:
“I did not sign here to go through a rebuild or go through what I did for 10 years in Ottawa” pic.twitter.com/eObU6eBo8V
— Hockey Hound (@HockeyHoundShow) March 14, 2021
Maybe instead of venting his frustrations on the media, he should take it out on the ice. Erik Karlsson is still a very good hockey player, but something isn’t right with him. I highly doubt anyone would take that salary for any inconsistent play like Karlsson is bringing, but this league is wild.
Here is a crazy thought Mr. Karlsson. If you do not want to play on a rebuilding team, play better and make the team around you better. This can make the team a better place to play and brings morale up.
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