Sharks GM open to offers for Erik Karlsson

Kavin Mistry / National Hockey League / Getty

San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier didn't shoot down the idea of potentially trading his top defenseman, Erik Karlsson, at some point this season.

"I'll listen, but at the end of the day, too, a lot will depend on Erik, too," Grier said Tuesday, per NHL.com's Nick Cotsonika. "He's got the trade protection and (has control over) what he wants to do. I know right now he's happy. He's happy in San Jose. His family's happy there. And we're thrilled with how he's playing."

Karlsson's San Jose tenure has been plagued by injuries, but he's shown he still has plenty left in the tank in 2022-23. Through 17 games, he currently leads all NHL defensemen with 10 goals and 22 points.

The 32-year-old is signed through 2026-27 with an $11.5-million cap hit and a full no-movement clause. The Sharks may have to retain a portion of his contract in order to trade him - as they did with Brent Burns this past summer - but it's easy to see how there'd be a market for Karlsson given his recent play.

"He's a dynamic player," said Grier, who joined the team in July. "To me, he's probably one of the three best offensive defensemen in the league, and he's been great for us. He's done everything we've asked as far as preparation, practicing, playing. He's been great.

"So, maybe there's a scenario where a team comes asking for him (in a trade) because I do think he's a difference-maker. He's someone who can go out there and win you a game - or win you a series, for that matter - so maybe something will come up down the road. We'll see."

Amid San Jose's struggles in March 2021, Karlsson, a two-time Norris Trophy winner, said he "didn't sign here" for a rebuild. However, he said in September he was "excited for the future here."

A rebuild in San Jose could be inevitable at some point, though. The Sharks have missed the playoffs three years in a row and have just a 12% chance of making it this season, per MoneyPuck.

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Sharks GM open to offers for Erik Karlsson
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