As everyone should know by now, Erik Karlsson has been traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins as part of a three-team trade with the San Jose Sharks and Montreal Canadiens.
Here is the full breakdown of the trade:
- Pittsburgh acquires defenseman Erik Karlsson, forward Rem Pitlick, forward Dillon Hamaliuk, and San Jose's 2026 third-round draft pick. Karlsson is signed through the 2026-27 season and his contract carries an average annual value of $11.5 million. San Jose is retaining $1.5 million of his salary yearly.
- San Jose acquires Pittsburgh's 2024 first-round draft pick (top-10 protected), forward Mikael Granlund, defenseman Jan Rutta and forward Mike Hoffman.
- Montreal acquires Pittsburgh's 2025 second-round draft pick, defenseman Jeff Petry, goaltender Casey DeSmith and forward Nathan Legare. Jeff Petry is signed through the 2024-25 season and his contract carries an average annual value of $6.5 million. Pittsburgh is retaining $1.5 million of his salary yearly.
Although many fans have criticized San Jose Sharks GM, Mike Grier for not getting enough in exchange for a Defenseman who just won the Norris Trophy, they fail to understand that it very difficult to move a 33-year-old defenseman who is owed 11.5 Million per season for the next 4 years. Not to mention, this was Karlsson's first terrific season since being traded to San Jose so the fact that they were able to move 10 million off their books the next 4 seasons, is a win for the Sharks. Would you like to get a better return for a player of Karlsson's caliber? Sure, but with the constraints that the Sharks had, they did a solid job. The Most important piece in the deal for the Sharks is of course the first-round pick, which is what a rebuilding team should be trying to stockpile. Forwards Mikael Granlund and Mike Hoffman are roster fillers at this point in their careers, but in San Jose, they might play in a top 6 role and perhaps have a bounce-back year. Jan Ruuta is an underrated defenseman with playoff experience, who the Sharks could deal at the trade deadline if they want.
The Pittsburgh Penguins only have a limited window to win with the core of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang all over the age of 35, so they had to make this trade and go all in to maximize these legendary players' careers. Erik Karlsson proved last season that he is still an elite defenseman in the league and his addition to the Penguins' blueline makes them a lot better than they were before the trade. Besides acquiring Karlsson, Pittsburgh also gets forwards Rem Pitlick and Dillon Hamaliuk, two players who could compete for a spot in the bottom 6, and a 2026 2nd-round pick. The best part about this trade was that
Kyle Dubas managed to dump both Mikael Granlund and Jeff Petry's contracts and managed to turn somehow turned that into Erik Karlsson. Pittsburgh obviously did not have enough assets to make the trade go through, so they needed a third team to help facilitate the trade, and lucky for them, the Montreal Canadiens were more than willing to do this.
Montreal received Defenseman Jeff Petry, who they have always liked and with the defense looking pretty thin this year, he could play on the top pair with Michael Matheson. Jeff Petry will in all likelihood get moved either by the trade deadline or at the draft next season, and they could get even more assets in return. Goalie Casey DeSmith will compete with Samuel Montembeault to be the Backup to Jake Allen and would be an upgrade over Montembeault. Nathan Legare will likely be playing in the AHL next season, but you can never have to much depth. Montreal also received Pittsburgh's 2025 2nd-round pick, but the best part of this trade for Montreal was being able to get rid of Mike Hoffman because he was occupying a roster spot that could be better filled by another young player like Juraj Slafkovksy.
All teams involved in this trade come away as winners, as they achieve what they wanted with one trade:
- San Jose freed up cap space, and the acquisitions of Hoffman and Granlund will allow them to Trade Logan Couture for more assets.
- Montreal got rid of Mike Hoffman, Rem Pitlick in exchange for got top 4 caliber defenseman, a solid backup and a 2nd round pick.
- Pittsburgh Penguins get an elite offensive defenseman, who just won the Norris Trophy in Erik Karlsson.