Karlsson frustrated with Sharks' direction: 'I didn't sign here' for rebuild
Erik Karlsson inked a long-term deal with the San Jose Sharks in 2019 in order to chase a Stanley Cup, but the team's struggles have forced management to shift the organization's direction.
General manager Doug Wilson told The Athletic's Kevin Kurz on Friday that the team is in a "reset." Wilson explained that's why the Sharks used all nine of their draft picks this past offseason to replenish the farm system instead of trading them to improve the current roster.
Karlsson is not thrilled about the idea of growing pains.
"Obviously, I did not sign here to go through a rebuild or go through what I did for 10 years in Ottawa," Karlsson said Saturday, according to NHL.com's David Satriano. "But it is what it is. I think that we need to find a way to build with a core group that we have here and figure out a way how to be competitive here in the upcoming years."
After spending nine seasons with the Senators - in which they made the playoffs five times - Karlsson was traded from Ottawa to San Jose in September 2018 for a package involving four players and multiple draft picks. The Sharks made it to the conference finals in Karlsson's first campaign in teal, prompting the Swedish blue-liner to re-sign for eight years at $11.5 million per season.
However, the Sharks plummeted to dead-last in the Western Conference standings last season.
"I mean, I think after the year we had last year, I think it was pretty, pretty clear that we were not going to be the team that we were maybe the first year that I got here," Karlsson said. "You know that doesn't take rocket science to figure out."
San Jose's aging core of Karlsson, Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Logan Couture, and Evander Kane are all 29 years of age or older and signed through at least the 2024-25 season. The club currently sits seventh place in the West Division - seven points back of a playoff spot.
Karlsson has battled injuries since joining the Sharks, missing 47 regular-season games over the past three years. The two-time Norris Trophy winner has registered two goals and seven assists in 21 contests this season.