Penguins Acquire Erik Karlsson in Three-Team Trade
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.