San Jose Sharks’ defenseman Erik Karlsson entered the offseason as the most notable free agent in 2019. And he is already off the market.
The Sharks confirmed on Tuesday that Karlsson agreed to stay in San Jose and signed an eight-year deal with the team. Although the financial terms of the contract have not been made public per club policy, Yahoo Sports reports that the overall value of the deal stands at $92 million. This means that the 29-year-old will earn $11.5 on an annual basis, which makes him the highest paid defenseman in the league.
“We are extremely pleased that Erik and his wife Melinda have committed to the San Jose Sharks and that they have done so prior to July 1,” – said Sharks’ general manager Doug Wilson.
“Players with Erik’s elite level of talent are rare and when they become available, it’s important to be aggressive in pursuing them. He is a difference maker who consistently makes the players around him better. We are pleased that he has been proactive in addressing his injury from last season and are looking forward to him being part of our organization for a long time to come.”
Karlsson joined San Jose in September 2018 from Ottawa Senators in a trade that saw Sharks giving up four players and three draft picks for his services. Due to a groin injury, he ended up playing just 53 games in his first season with the team but still contributed a total of 45 points.
“I’m super excited to continue my journey with the Sharks,” – said Karlsson in a statement. “Since my first day here, I have only good things to say about the people, organization and the fans. The entire Bay Area has been extremely welcoming to me and my family. I appreciate that and we can’t wait to spend the next eight years in San Jose.”
“As far as hockey goes, I’m excited to continue the chase for the ultimate prize: the Stanley Cup. Last year was an unbelievable run but we didn’t achieve what we set out to do. But the dedication I witnessed from my teammates, coaches, staff and organization showed me that we all have a great future ahead of us, and that we are capable of fighting for that championship year in and year out.”
Although securing Erik Karlsson on a long term deal is a big coup for the Sharks, the team still has a lot of work to do this offseason. They have two more prominent free agents in captain Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton, and it will be interesting to see whether they remain generous with their contract offers.