Penguins Acquire Erik Karlsson in Three-Team Trade

by | Aug 6, 2023 | News, NHL, Rumors | 46 comments

The San Jose Sharks traded Erik Karlsson to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a three-team deal involving the Montreal Canadiens.

The Penguins get Karlsson, forward Rem Pitlick, forward Dillon Hamaliuk and the Sharks third-round pick in the 2026 NHL Draft.

San Jose Sharks trade defenseman Erik Karlsson to the Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL Images).

The Sharks receive the Penguins 2024 first-round pick (top-10 protected), forward Mikael Granlund, defenseman Jan Rutta and forward Mike Hoffman.

The Canadiens acquire the Penguins 2025 second-rounder, defenseman Jeff Petry, goaltender Casey DeSmith and forward Nathan Legare.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are retaining $1.5 million of Karlsson’s $11.5 million annual salary cap hit through 2026-27. Meanwhile, the Penguins are retaining over $1.562 million of Petry’s $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2024-25.

Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas finally lands the big fish he was pursuing since mid-June. This is the biggest trade he’s ever made in the NHL and it could define his legacy with the Penguins.

With the first-pairing spot on the right side of the Penguins’ blueline promised to Kris Letang, Karlsson will either move into the second-pairing position or over to the left side on the first pairing. He will likely anchor the first power-play unit.

The Penguins didn’t get much cap savings from the Sharks’ retaining part of his salary. However, they were able to clear the entirety of Granlund’s $5 million average annual value from their cap payroll

This move could work out well for the Penguins if Karlsson remains a 70-80 point defenseman who meshes well with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin over the next two or three seasons. But if Karlsson’s performance declines and injuries start catching up with him, they’ll have a blueliner with eroding skills and a still-significant annual cap hit on their books.

Pitlick joins the Penguins from the Canadiens. The 26-year-old carries an average annual value of $1.1 million and will either skate on the Penguins’ checking lines this season or head to their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Hamaliuk, 22, spent last season with the ECHL’s Wichita Thunder and is likely headed to the minors.

This move also leaves the Penguins with $1.495 million in cap space. They could get more if Jake Guentzel ends up on long-term injury reserve to start the season.

The Sharks aren’t getting a package of promising youngsters in this deal in Granlund, Rutta and Hoffman. Granlund and Rutta are coming from the Penguins while Hoffman joins them from the Canadiens.

This trio struggled with their former clubs and their best seasons could be behind them. Nevertheless, they should provide some experienced short-term depth for the Sharks as they continue to rebuild on the fly.

The real prize here for San Jose is shedding the bulk of Karlsson’s contract as well as getting a first-round pick as part of the return. They now have two first-rounders and two second-round picks in next year’s draft.

Meanwhile, the Canadiens managed to address some of their needs in this trade. They moved out Hoffman and his $4.5 million cap hit for this season, clearing space to bring back Petry at a slightly reduced price to add some experience to their young blueline, and brought in more depth to their goaltending with DeSmith.

Petry shouldn’t have much difficulty readjusting to the Canadiens. Despite his difficulties with the Penguins last season he still managed 31 points in 61 games. DeSmith could be the Habs’ third goalie behind Sam Montembeault and Jake Allen unless Montembeault or Allen ends up getting shipped out at some point.

Legare spent the past two seasons with the Penguins’ farm club. He will likely end up with the Habs’ AHL affiliate in Laval. The addition of the Penguins’ pick gives them two second-rounders in the 2025 draft.


  1. Doesn’t matter how you slice or dice this trade, Pittsburgh won. They got the best player. (Not a Karlsson fan).

  2. San Jose, the clear winner just by getting rid of Karlsson contract.

    Montreal I like the Petry pickup and shedding Hoffman contract.

    Pitts if you win the cup, you win the trade. Dumped Grandlund contract.

    My first reaction I think everyone done ok.

    • Agree Caper..
      Sharks lose the contract, get the pick and add three veterans that can help now and be gone after only 2 seasons. Great move for a rebuilding franchise.

    • Honestly all three teams did well and accomplished what they needed for their clubs.

      Penguins got a terrific player..yes at $10 million but cap goes up betwee
      $ 4 and 6 million and carter comes off the books.
      Penguins umloaded $15.8 million in contracts.

      Look Letang or Karlsson will be on the ice 22 to 25 minutes.

      San jose doesnt retain much salary, gets out of the contract, and gets a couple serviceable players and a number one pick

      Montreal gets Petry back who was good in Montreal for 8 years..they could flip him Casey desmith solid back up goalie a number 2 2025 pick.

      I do love our top 4 Letang Graves Karlsson Peterson

  3. Wouaw !

  4. From a Habs point of view, it basically comes down to trading the last year of Hoffman’s contract (and Pitlick) for the last two years of Perry’s ( at a bargain ), a 2nd , and a back-up goalie…….
    First impressions : the logjam at forward just got much better. Guys like Ilonen and Harvey-Pinard are now guaranteed their place on the roster. Plus, we now have three NHL caliber goalies.
    As Basu wrote, we can expect to see Petry re-traded, before the season starts. I don’t see Hughes blocking the development of Barron and/or Kovacevic, to play Petry. At 50 % retained, he should fetch…something.

  5. WoW… Crazy Trade….

    Cant believe the Pen’s are paying him the full $10.M
    and the sharks only held back $1.5M in salary
    the pens really dont have much cap space left,
    Dooby means business

    Sharks did ok in the trade getting a 1st and a couple of UFA players they can trade at the deadline and retaining $3.M in Salarys

    Next year the Sharks have lots of cap space $36.M and more 4 pick in the first 2 rounds
    for the re-build

  6. I feel like Montreal got the best out of this deal lmao.

    • I feel the same.
      At the end of the day Pitt just got EK, a 3rd (2026), a longshot prospect, and a Border line AHL player for:

      1st in either 24 or 25
      2nd (2024)
      Petry 1.6 Retained

      Lets be honest, Pitt, is trying to win one more before this falls off the rails and father time always wins out when it comes to athletes.

      IMO Pitt is a borderline wild card team after this off season, and a long and painful rebuild is on the very near horizon, that they just traded away even more draft capital.

    • Saint, my first impression is that the Pens got the best of the deal. They picked up by far the best player in the deal and rid themselves of two mediocre players who were taking up too much cap space. Desmith is a useful backup but easily replaceable. Petry is a good D-man but there would be no place for him now. The Habs did well moving out two superfluous forwards, $5,6m. in salary and in picking up a pick and a useful D-man. I don’t feel the Sharks got enough futures for Karlsson.

      There may be another way to look at it. And that’s which team took on the most risk. The Sharks took on no risk. Even with Karlsson, they would struggle the next few years. The bad contracts they took on will be gone inside of two years. The Habs took on no risk either. Even if Desmith and Petry fail miserably, Desmith can be buried in the minors for very low cap hit and Petry has only two years left at a discounted cap hit. The Habs won’t be contending that soon and can weather the hit.

      The Pens, on the other hand, have taken on a great risk. Four years of an aging D-man at a $10m. cap hit. F they get last years EK, it’ll be well worth it. On the other hand, if they get the less productive and injury riddled EK of the previous four years, they’ll be in a position of having so much of their cap space tied up in a core that is well into their 30s. This may be boom or bust for them.

      Let’s agree to return in three years and analyze the trade then.

      • Hi Howard

        I think all three teams made a change that has benefits… Sharks are rebuilding; Habs moved an underperforming vet ; but also got another Vet (who can be flipped) and a 2nd

        Yes Pens got EK ….. absolutely best player in the trade….

        They also jettisoned Petry, Granlund, Rutta, DeSmith… fantastic

        All good for Pens….
        But gave up an extra 2nd they didn’t have to because Dooby refused to buyout Granlund (see my post for rationale); AND still overCap; and 4 years at $10 M….. and although the top 4 Pens D tremendously better than last year’s…. They have no 3C; no 3rd line…. and Guentzel is out; and they are cap strapped

        Dooby could have gotten EK at $8.5/M by buying out Granlund; and saved a 2nd (see my post)

        Dooby still must make a move or two; but things are looking up

  7. “Petry shouldn’t have much difficulty readjusting to the Canadiens. DeSmith could be the Habs’ third goalie.”

    No and no.
    – Petry won’t have time to adjust, as he won’t be starting the season in Montreal. Hughes is likely working the phones as we speak. This is not Hoffman; Petry has some trade value.
    – The Habs will not likely carry 3 goalies. DeSmith will likely get peddled (although I’d rather see Allen go).

    • Banger, I agree that Petry, unlike Hoffman, has value. Even though his time with the Pens wasn’t great, he still put up 31 points in 61 games and played over 22 minutes per game. So Hughes won’t give him away. He’d retain $2m. or so but would want a solid asset in return. If no trade materializes, Petry can be useful for the Habs this season. If he’s not traded during the season, then it’d be best off is he’s moved before the following season.

      • Habs can retain 37.5 % on Petry at TDL and get a good prospect or a 2nd from a contender (who would be getting Petry at an annual Cap hit of only $2.3 M

  8. Well well well

    EK a Pen

    The good, the bad, the ugly….

    EK a Pen…. Excellent

    Petry exit …. Excellent

    Rutta exit…. Excellent

    Granlund exit…. Excellent

    DeSmith exit…..Excellent

    No key prospect given up …. Basically a swap of guys who likely will never play in the NHL; same draft; 3 months apart in age; Pens got the bigger prospect…. Call this “meh”

    Giving up a 1st (lottery protected)…. Was a given in the expectation of getting EK…. Neither here nor there

    EK coming over at $10 M and Pens having to give up a 2nd; and Pens over with only 21 players…. Ouch…. Bad….. this is all on Dooby….

    All because Granlund was in the deal

    That was costly

    If Dooby had done the right thing and buyout Granlund…..

    EK comes over at no more than $8.5 M (that’s an extra 13% retained by Grier…. So actual cash is extra $4.95 M retained vs having to pay Granlund $11 M over twi years only to produce like a $1 M player… $9 M wasted)

    Granlund buyout would mean :

    Instead of 2nd from Pens going to Habs; it would be a 2nd from Sharks and Sharks would not have had to sent a 3rd to Pens or Hamiliuk

    EK instead of in at $10 M ; in at $8.5 M with Granlund buyout (only $0.8 M on Cap)….. and Pens UNDER by $0.6 M not OVER ($0.1 M)

    Dooby refusal to buyout Granlund cost Pens a 2nd and a $700 K positive swing in Cap

    Pens over and still 8 4th liners; no 3rd liners; no 3C….. not good at all

    By moving Ruuta and also NOT moving Ruhweedel…… very very very costly…. As Sully severely discriminates against the far superior Friedman in favour of the very costly Ruhweedel…… over and over and over again

    There is a solution to this by Dooby …. To force Sully’s hands….

    Pick up the phone and sign Bear or Foote at $900 K (they’ve been sitting anxiously waiting on UFA “call up)…. Not a chance Sully could argue that they are not leaps and bounds better than CR

    Dooby could also try and lowball Dumba @$2M for 1 yr….. use the needed space ($1.15 M [$2 M less CR at $850 K sent down]) from Guentz LTIR….. deal with Cap space when Guentz returns

    Sully would need to be fired if he played Ruhweedel instead of Dumba

    The key sore spot now is Guentzel out and no 3C ; and no real 3rd line wingers

    with no 3C…. Sid or Gino lengthy injuries will be catastrophic….

    Eller is the next best C and he’s just not good enough for top 6 work

    Accairi is worse than Eller

    Carter….. don’t get me started

    Dooby needs a 3C….. Ducks have a redundancy C…. Hello Mr. Henrique

    Henrique can fill in on wing top 6 until Guentz returns then drop to 3C

    He can also fill in for Sid or Gino (if they go down) waaaaay better than Pens current available Cs


    To Ducks:

    3rd (Pens just rec’d in deal)
    3rd (Pens ‘26)

    To Pens:
    Henrique (@ 50 % retained) and Leason

    Dooby then signs UFAs Comtois and one of Bear or Foote

    No matter what…. Another move is required….. no 1LW; no 3C; Pens have no 3rd line

    • Well forget the Dumba saviour low ball deal to Pens to force Sully to sit CR…. Apparently Dumba had been waiting in hopes EK deal didn’t get done so he could go to Pens

      With EK deal in place… he forced the lowly Yotes to overpay ($4 M) for him…. They are obviously banking on retaining 1/2 @ TDL to hopefully get a 2nd

      Fingers crossed that Doobie signs Bear or Foote

      He also has the option (all in his control) to waive CR and bring up Friedman…., this is the GM’s call not the coach’s

      I wish that Sully wasn’t so prejudicial in the Friedman/CR playing choice….. very costly for team

      • Oh pengy. Only you could spin dumping granlund without a buyout penalty as a bad thing.

      • Hi Chrisms

        Getting rid of Granlund was excellent…. As I said in the post

        Buying him out…. The most prudent and absolutely correct move….. would have done the same thing…. Granlund gone B-Bye

        See below for my response to SK on what Dooby cost Pens because his Ego said no buyouts (note but retained on Petry)

        Granlund should have been bought out yesterday and not been part of today’s deal

      • You have only conjecture that sharks would have held more money and pens gotten more. They may have had no interest in retaining more for 4 years and wanted granlund for two. It’s odd the deal happened now during the buy out period. I conjecture dubas wanted to do buyout but San Jose only agreed to deal if they got granlund and held less. Now they have a vet who they can move for assets down the road for more assets as opposed to dead cap space for 4 years. You can’t assume pens did this entirely on their own volition

      • Wrong chrisms. Pengy knows all. Now if only someone would give him a job as an NHL gm. Lol.

      • If someone did I think he’d be interesting. Not sure any free agents would sign with him though. He seems to want to trade them weeks after shaking their hands and welcoming them to the team. But pengy does throw out the whole ridiculous three way team deals involving ten plus assets which are obviously complete fantasy! Until they frickin happen!

    • Hi Pengy,

      Kyle Dubas back in June interview explained he prefers not buying out players. Grandlund buyout result in 4 years : years 2 , 3 , 4 – the cost -1,833,333 per season. Also, Penguins still paying for previous buy-out. Understand Dubas reasoning for declining buying out Grandlund.

      • Hi SK

        His rationale didn’t hold water then and still doesn’t

        He retained on Petry a greater hit this year than Granlund buyout would be

        Buying out a player that will crimp your team down the road …. That has logic

        The Granlund buyout has but two dead cap years…. 25/26 and 26/27…Both at a mere $1.8 M when (1) Pens will not be sending to Cap because they will be in rebuild; and (2) the Cap by then is mid $90’s M minimum….. even if they were a competing team then…. $1.8 M is nothing

        Now look at the benefits

        $4.2 M savings this year, $3.2 M next year

        Dooby through his stubbornness …. Cost Pens….. $1.5 M more Cap hit for EK , plus a 2nd

        Dooby’s job is to do what’s best for the team now and in the future; chuck own Ego to the curb

        His stubborn Ego cost Pens

        Hopefully he can rectify by trading for a 3rd line

      • I doubt Fenway ever doesn’t spend to cap pengy. I think that’s a false point in exhibit a. Exhibit b may be right but the ego thing is a bit much pengy.

    • I like the trade, the Penguins get rid of their 4 worst contracts and none of their top 5 prospects and get a fourth future hall of famer. Dont really see a downside. Petry and Granlund underperformed and age is catching up with them. Getting rid of DeSmith is good for both sides as he was the definition of inconsistent and needs a change of scenery. I actually thought the Sharks would get more, Puustinan and Smith I thought were goners.

  9. Biggest loser: Hertl. How long before he wants out of SJ. Since signing extension in 2022, Sharks have traded away 3 of their top players.

    • Agree slick

      Would love to make his day worse…..

      To Pens …. Couture 50% retained

      To Sharks:

      1st (again lottery protected)
      Carter (yes he’d have to waive his NMC…. It’s just a dream trade)
      Another prospect NOT named P-O J, Smith, Pickering, Yaeger, Poulin

  10. After top 6…. Here is what Pens have as NHL forward contracts….. 9 of them BTW ….note…. All are 4th line calibre….NONE 3rd line calibre (with maybe … just maybe, the exception of Eller [if he plays Wing])

    Zero are 3C calibre

    Zero can fill in for Sid or Gino f they go down

    Carter $3.1 M
    *Eller $2.5 M
    *Accairi $2 M
    **Pitlick $1.1 M
    ***O’Connor $0.9 M
    *Nieto $0.9 M
    ***Nylander $0.8 M
    *Johnnsson $0.8 M
    *Hinizsrozza $0.8 M

    *Dooby UFA signings
    ** Dooby trade acquisitions
    ***Dooby RFA re-ups

    • @ pengy..i do disagree Lars Eller is a solid two way pkayer center.

      He used to kill the Penguins can easily score 15 goals and great defensively and has edge..
      Accari nieto Eller all will score 15 + goals
      Nieto is fast and scored 12 goals with crappy san Jose

  11. HuGo finds the Pens as the gift that keeps on giving.

    Combining the last two deals:

    Habs get Matheson, keep Petry with 25% paid by Pens, get a 4th round pick a 2nd round pick, a backup goalie DeSmith and an AHL player (Legare)

    In return for Poehling, Hoffman and Pitlick.

    The haul will grow if/when Petry is traded again.

    • The haul could grow even more if DeSmith is moved.
      What HuGo did to the Pens is almost Sam Pollock-like.

      • What he did to Ron hextall you mean.

    • It’s been something to watch. Fascinating even.
      Great body of work so far.

      • Sure is. Habs are super lucky to have Petry back… lol.

  12. If I’m a Pens fan, I’d be pretty excited about the power play and just getting to see three incredible talents.
    This sure livens up the dog days of summer .

    • How bout overtime!?!?😳

  13. They got rid of most of their bad contracts/bad players and got the best player in the deal. And I think they end up with cap relief. Win for Dubas. And for Mtl. Don’t know what SJ was thinking taking on all those bad contracts (Hoffman and Granlund).

  14. Not to put a damper on EK but his winning the Norris this last year was a bit of a stretch. Yes he had 107 points but he was also -26. To me I have to question the vote as the all-around best defenceman in the league. One last run maybe but adding EK doesn’t make you any younger.

    • Follow along. You comment is about two months too late.

    • Last season Erik Karlsson was on the ice for 21 empty net goals against Sharks. Minus those empty net goals Erik Karlsson +- rating was -5.

  15. An old core didn’t get any younger

  16. Is Matt Cooke still on Pittsburgh ? EK returning to the scene of the crime….

    • What “crime” are you referring to? If you mean Cooke cutting Karlsson with his skate blade, it was accidental.

      • Riiiiiight. 😉

  17. Montreal did fine with getting rid of parts they didnt need and getting Petry back, grade B.
    SJ got basically a first rounder for Karlsson, I know they didnt retain much but as a rebuilding club, is cap space a problem? In my opinion no, so unless the owner dictated this, its a terrible trade for SJ. Retain 50% and get lots of more teams involved and much better return of picks and prospects.
    Penguins the clear winner, grade A, with the caveat that EK needs to stay health for at least the first 2 seasons and deliver