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How Difficult Would It Be to Trade Erik Karlsson?

San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier said he's willing to listen to offers for Erik Karlsson. But speculation suggests the defenseman's contract makes any trade less likely.
Erik Karlsson

San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier's willingness to listen to trade offers for Erik Karlsson raised a stir in the NHL rumor mill on Tuesday. However, there's a big difference between entertaining pitches for your best defenseman and actually moving him.

This isn't the first time Karlsson has surfaced in trade speculation. His hot start to this season (10 goals and 24 points in 18 games) had some pundits musing over whether Grier would consider putting the 32-year-old defenseman on the block.

Grier was full of praise for Karlsson's performance and professionalism, claiming the blueliner and his family were happy in San Jose. Nevertheless, he didn't rule out the possibility of shopping him if the right offer came along at some point.

TSN's Chris Johnston reported Grier's comments made it sound like no one is currently pushing for a trade. Still, he felt Karlsson's status could be worth monitoring near the March 3 trade deadline.

In fact, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman said on Wednesday's Jeff Marek Show he believes the Ottawa Senators talked with the Sharks about a trade that would send the Sens' former captain back to Canada's capital. But Friedman said the defenseman's hefty $11.5-million annual salary cap through 2026-27 makes it unfeasible for the Senators.

Grier noted that Karlsson has full control over what he wants to do thanks to his no-movement clause.

San Jose Hockey Now's Sheng Peng said that contract will be a sticking point for most NHL teams but wondered if the Sharks would be willing to retain a portion of Karlsson's cap hit to facilitate a trade. They absorbed 33 percent ($2.72 million) of Brent Burns' $8-million average annual cap hit when they shipped him in July to the Carolina Hurricanes.

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