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Sharks GM anticipates Karlsson staying put for rest of season

Jeff Bottari / National Hockey League / Getty

San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier didn't explicitly say he wouldn't trade star defenseman Erik Karlsson at the March 3 deadline, but he certainly poured some cold water on the idea.

"There's teams that still always want to check in when you've got a great player like that who can make a difference and maybe win you a Stanley Cup," he told reporters Sunday evening. "I think there's always a little bit of interest, but at the same time, I think, with five days to go until the deadline to make everything work, it might be something that's difficult to pull off.

"But at the end of the day, if someone wants him bad enough, as they say, 'Where there's a will, there's a way.' ... At this time, I'm anticipating him being here for the rest of the season. ... Anything can change at the drop of a hat, right?"

Karlsson is making a serious push for his third Norris Trophy this season. The 32-year-old has 77 points in 60 games and is on pace for 105 points. He'd be the first blue-liner to reach the century mark since Brian Leetch in 1991-92.

The veteran's resurgence has turned some heads, with the Edmonton Oilers reportedly being among the interested parties. However, Karlsson has four seasons remaining on his pact after this one with a monstrous cap hit of $11.5 million, which has evidently been an impediment to any potential deals.

Karlsson's contract carries a no-movement clause but said Grier hasn't approached him about it.

"I think it'd be weird if he comes now with three days left to ask me to waive my no-move," Karlsson said, according to NBC Sports' Sheng Peng. "We've had plenty of time for that if that was the case."

Grier acknowledged that moving Karlsson in the offseason would be "easier to do."

One major domino already fell Sunday for the retooling Sharks. Grier made his biggest move as general manager, sending pending restricted free agent Timo Meier to the New Jersey Devils in a swap that included nine players and four picks.

Karlsson addressed the blockbuster deal Monday.

"You trade a guy like Timo, I don't think that shows that this is going to be a quick turnaround," he said. "It's unfortunate. ... (I) understand what needs to be done from an organizational perspective, and it just sucks that it happened to be where I'm at in this stage of my career."

Karlsson said in January that he loves San Jose but had hoped the team's return to contention was within his "timeline," adding that if it wasn't, it would be a "different discussion."

San Jose is in seventh place in the Pacific Division with an 18-30-12 record. The Meier-less Sharks take on the Montreal Canadians on Tuesday.

Sharks GM anticipates Karlsson staying put for rest of season
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