Should The Blackhawks Acquire Erik Karlsson?

Erik Karlsson - Calgary Flames v San Jose Sharks
Erik Karlsson - Calgary Flames v San Jose Sharks / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks are both struggling. As we look into the 2022-23 season, both teams are bottom of the barrel rosters, but seem to have different goals in mind. The Sharks are looking to have a quick rebuild, while staying competitive and having a team that battles every single night, and while the Blackhawks would love to do the same thing, they just don’t have the firepower yet. Their goal is, or should be, acquiring future assets in any way they can, even if that means taking on a bad contract..or two. 

The Sharks recently moved Brent Burns, and I can’t see them hanging on to Erik Karlsson much longer. The 6’0, 190 Swedish blue liner put up 10 goals and 25 assists through 50 games last season with San Jose. Some may argue and say Karlsson isn’t a bad player, and he’s not. I have nothing against him, and I personally still believe he’s an elite player in the NHL who has simply taken a small decline. With that being said, his contract is definitely scary. 

For the next 5 seasons, Karlsson is making $11.5M AAV with a no movement clause. For a guy that’s getting paid more than Cale Makar, Adam Fox and other top end defensemen in the league, he should be putting up numbers to back the paycheck, and unfortunately he just hasn’t been able to. The Blackhawks should swoop in, and take some of his contract. 

In a perfect world, the Blackhawks receive Karlsson at 33% retained (same as the Sharks retained in the Brent Burns deal) along with a couple prospects, and a few picks, and the Sharks get back a late pick and a player like Kurashev or Domi to make the money get a little closer to even, although it’s almost impossible for that to happen.