Sharks Re-sign Erik Karlsson

by | Jun 17, 2019 | News, NHL, Rumors | 32 comments

The San Jose Sharks re-signed defenseman Erik Karlsson to an eight-year contract extension. The annual average value is reportedly worth over $11 million. 

UPDATE: Cap Friendly indicates it’s an eight-year deal worth $92 million, with an annual average value of $11.5 million. It also contains a full no-movement clause throughout the term of the contract. He’ll receive $53 million in total signing bonuses, with $39 million in base salary. Karlsson will receive $14.5 million in actual salary in 2019-20, after which it’ll decline each year to reach $7.5 million by the final season of the deal (2026-27). 

The San Jose Sharks re-sign Erik Karlsson to an eight-year contract extension (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson would’ve been the biggest name in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. The deal is comparable to the eight-year, $88-million extension Drew Doughty signed last summer with the Los Angeles Kings. Karlsson will likely become the NHL’s highest-paid defenseman.

On the one hand, this seems like a fair deal for one of the league’s elite defensemen. Karlsson is a two-time winner of the James Norris Memorial Trophy. He also captained an underdog Ottawa Senators club to within an overtime goal of reaching the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.

Despite being sidelined this season by a nagging groin injury, the 29-year-old Karlsson netted 45 points in 53 games with the Sharks, along with 16 points in 19 postseason contests. He should remain a key member of their core and keep them among the Cup contenders. 

On the other hand, Karlsson’s been plagued by injuries over the last two years. He required foot surgery following the 2017 postseason and still felt the after-effects following his return to the Senators last season. While still a game-changing rearguard when healthy this season, he missed considerable time. That groin injury also kept him from Game 6 of the Western Conference Final, which saw the Sharks eliminated by the St. Louis Blues. 

For the Sharks to get their money’s worth, Karlsson must play at a Norris-contending level throughout most of this contract. Given his age and recent injury history, that’s no longer a certainty.

In the meantime, Karlsson’s new contract takes a big bite out of the Sharks’ salary-cap payroll. Before the signing, Cap Friendly indicated the Sharks had nearly $59 million tied up in 15 players. Karlsson’s new deal pushes that to around $70 million. Assuming a projected cap of $83 million, the Sharks will have roughly $13 million in cap room.

That won’t leave much to re-sign long-time Sharks forwards Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton, due to become UFAs on July 1. Restricted free agent forwards Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc will be seeking significant raises.

To retain those four, the Sharks will have to shed salary. Otherwise, they’ll have to cut ties with Pavelski and possibly Thornton. It could become an interesting summer in San Jose. 


  1. Makes me wonder if Burns or Vlasic will be traded.

    • HUGE Mistake by the Sharks –

      Karlssson will need to play with Burns especially moving forward as he slips in play on his own ..the effect that this could have is detrimental to the Sharks back end offense …as Burns will need to cover for Karlsson often as he gets slower and makes mistakes, this will take away from Burns production as he is more of a threat on offense than Karlsson is, this will be an issue for the Sharks in my opinion. especially long term.

      In the 3rd year they will start to regret this signing.

      So surprised that Pavelski was not the immediate importance with the funds available.

      • I agree with you 100%, once he hits 30 his contract will become one of those very challenging ones to move and it will be regrettable on their part.

        Unless they unload someone else Pavelski is going to end his career with a new team which just seems wrong for a player being so committed to just one team his entire career.

      • Looks like pavelski might be heading elsewhere after that signing

      • I agree, this was a mistake and it will impact Burns production. I assumed they were still going to sign Pavelski and that’s what made me think a high cap hit Defenseman had to be traded. 26 million tied up in three defensemen, That would pay for Carolina’s entire defense.

      • I’d be shocked if that they don’t find a way to sign Pavs. They’ll make it happen

      • I simply disagree. Larlsson os over the foot injury. He injured his groin likely due to compenasted for his foot and missing considerable time previous to it.

        The groin will heel, his foot has heeled. There iant anything to make me think he wont be top of his game for the 1rst 5 years of his contract. After which thanks to aigning bonuses most of it will be paid out. The cap will likely be 10 more million higher if the current trend co tinues and it should with seattle joining.

        SJ will be fine though tough decisions will be made. I predict thornton will not be back.

      • Surprised by all the negativity. Sharks signed the best defenseman in the league to max contract. What were they supposed to do? Offer him considerably less so he’d sign elsewhere? Yes they paid a lot, and he deserves it. You cannot have great reward without risk. I agree with Jeff that first five years will be fantastic. Biggest question is does he continue to play with Dillon, or do Sharks attempt pairing Karlsson with Vlasic again. Also eager to see how Sharks bring Ryan Merkley into the mix.

        Biggest Q now is what they do for a RW.

  2. Big Joe will probably accept a 1M deal or something low.
    Pavelski in the 5M
    Meir 5M
    Labanc 4M

    That’s 15M and on the conservative side, it could be as high as 20M.

    Could Evander Kane be traded? or Labanc or Mieir?

  3. Vlasic is an interesting case. Certainly had a down season by his standards. Same with Braun. Sharks don’t really have another elite level shutdown D-man, so think they give Vlasic at least one more year. Don’t see Burns going anywhere, but I do see a production decline coming, if only due to his age and style of play. Meier now becomes the most important FA. Bridge deal @ 3-4M. Would not be surprised if Pavelski signed elsewhere. Like him as a player/leader, but this is Couture’s team now. Donskoi on the move, along with Nyquist.

  4. Very risky. Karlssons great when healthy but cant stay that way. Too much money and definetly too many years. Sharks will regret this signing Im afraid.

    • This just in .Dorion gonna take another run at the cup. Gonna pick up Phaneuf, burrows and spezza. Trade Chabot and 2 firsts for Karlsson. Tkachuk and Brannstrum for Hoffman. I heard Alfie might come back.It will be just like duck season in Ottawa back in 2007.

  5. Wow. Just wow! Well, I was dead wrong and Chrisms was dead right when he said some knucklehead would fork over the big bucks – what surprises me even more is the 8 frikken years. Ahh well, Ottawa at least gets another 2nd round pick from that trade.

    • Ya, more picks to try to draft players like they had before they traded them. Lmao. That’s a special kinda stupid.

      • Vinnie, the sens are doing a decent job. They had prolonged success and it was time for a clean slate.
        They got massively lucky that Turris and Karlsson turned down what was offered by the sens but regardless they’ve done well with all said and done.
        In a few years they will be very dangerous. A pile of picks for and having a GM who has a successful history as a scout is a good thing. They can also trade those picks for players.

        This team is a change of ownership away from being a real cup threat

    • Salary CAP’s are what protects owners from themselves.

  6. Don’t see this as a good signing: Ya EK has value for sure; but too many $ for too long while other needs the Sharks have, are now in question as to how they will be met

    • You’re probably right Taz. Dorion’s dad helped build a dynasty in Toronto. And they got the leafs assistant coach. The one that looked after the teams defense. Picking 19th when it should be 4th. Go Dorion Go . Like they say in the ad. Ottawa Rising. What other way can they go. In 2 years I guess they could go down 1 spot. Never know maybe they can get another Alex Daigle.In their highest years Toronto beat them out 4 times in 4 years. Leaf fans wish Ottawa would get in the playoffs, so the leafs could win another round. Lmao

  7. SJ must believe their window is the next three years…
    D core is not young
    Burns 34
    EK 29
    Vlasic 32

    I am also very surprised by the signing. EK is a great when healthy. But if he is done by 35 none of us will be surprised ala Peter Forsberg

  8. Obviously Doug Wilson thinks that the Sharks stanley cup contending window is open for a few more years and the Karlsson signing is worth the risk.
    May be they regret the signing in a few years but if they can win the cup….

  9. queue up the Vlasic to Habs rumors

    • A 32 year old who has a $7 million cap hit, that takes him to 38 years of age with a NMC. I don’t think so.

  10. Not smart. Why don’t teams ever learn? How’d that $11M contract the Kings gave Doughty work out for them this season? Add in the $10M Kopitar is getting.

    How about the Blackhawks. How’d those twin contracts they gave to Kane and Toews work out this season?

    If you’re going to pay out a huge contract, you pay it out to get that player’s best years. You sign the deal at age 22. Then you’re getting their best years. The Sharks just got maybe two good years and 6 years of dimishing skill and an untradeable contract.

    At least in the Hawks and Kings cases, they have multiple cup wins each.

  11. Darren Dreger is now saying that the cap maybe below the projected 83 million.
    This would have a big effect on teams like the Sharks, Leafs, and others.

  12. Its a good signing, but maybee should have been 11, not 11.5. If they sign Pavs to longer term they can get the cap down, like 5X5 frontloaded(7+7+5+4+2) and since he signs before 35 y, he isnt affected by the rule for older players signing. Meier will get 6 and LaBlanc 4. So they have to shed salary. Braun or Dillon will get traded and they should try and trade DEll. Donskoi is gone and so is NyQuist. If Thornton comes back its for 1or 2 but he really looked slow in playoffs.

    I really dont see EK being bad in 3 years, speed is one thing, hockey IQ dont go slow

    • I think it’s a good signing. He’s an elite offensive defenseman when healthy. It’s been proven time and again that when a team needs to get rid of contract they can. In future years I can see him on LTIR. Wilson is a smart man , been competitive for years. Just bad luck they haven’t won. Plus they have God on their side now. The legend Dorion said God made Karlsson on the 8th day

  13. Chrisms…
    I concede, you are the smartest man on this board…

    • Ahem.



  14. Ouch! Too much term, but that seems to be the way things are going in the NHL these days.
    While I love Pavs, who is probably the best puck tipper I’ve ever seen, his speed is noticeably slower these days. I think he’s going to soon be relegated to the third line and the Sharks aren’t going to pay big bucks for that. Yes, I agree with most that Thorton will take 1 mil for one more kick at the can. Donskoi’s gone. Meier: bridge. I’d like them to dangle Kane and see if we could get another reliable Dman. Heed and Ryan aren’t enough for full time 6th Dman. Might lose Braun if that happens.

    • Rock , the dangle on Evander Kane won’t reach far he has a Modified NTC: Player submits a list of 3 teams he can be traded to.

  15. Maybe he now can afford a haircut and a Costco size 2 in 1 conditioner shampo

  16. Trouba to the rangers for pionk and the 20th pick