Sharks trade Erik Karlsson to Penguins in three-team blockbuster

The NHL's reigning Norris Trophy winner is on the move from San Jose to Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Penguins pulled off a summer blockbuster on Sunday, acquiring star defenseman Erik Karlsson from the San Jose Sharks. The Montreal Canadiens were also involved in the deal.

The full trade is as follows:

Penguins receive: Erik Karlsson, Dillon Hamaliuk, Rem Pitlick, San Jose's 2026 third-round pick.

Sharks receive: Mikael Granlund, Mike Hoffman, Jan Rutta, Pittsburgh's 2024 first-round pick.

Canadiens receive: Jeff Petry, Casey DeSmith, Nathan Legare, Pittsburgh's 2025 second-round pick.

Karlsson won the 2023 Norris Trophy after a tour-de-force offensive performance where he recorded 25 goals and 101 points, playing in all 82 games for a woeful Sharks team looking to accelerate its rebuild. He was a defensive liability, however, as he was on the ice for a league-worst 96 goals against at 5-on-5.

In many ways, you can effectively view Karlsson as a hyper-charged fourth forward who excels on the power play and logs heavy minutes, but he’s not expected to suppress chances against top-six opponents.

Erik Karlsson won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman in 2022-23. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Erik Karlsson won the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman in 2022-23. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

It’s a clever move for general manager Kyle Dubas and the Penguins, who are looking to capitalize on the closing windows of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang’s respective primes. Dubas was galvanized by the chance to maximize Crosby’s timeline towards a potential fourth Stanley Cup and the 33-year-old Karlsson fits this window. Jake Guentzel will be out of the lineup indefinitely and Karlsson can provide some instant offense for the Penguins during the early portion of the regular season.

The Penguins’ power play should be lethal and if it results in a deep playoff run that puts Crosby and Co. in genuine title contention, Dubas will look like a genius.

It’s a somewhat underwhelming return for the Sharks but they did acquire a first-round pick. Granlund is a solid veteran presence while Hoffman is an empty-calories scorer who is negligent defensively and may need to be buried in a bottom-six role. The tank is on, as the Sharks should be focused on Boston University standout Macklin Celebrini atop the 2024 NHL Draft.

As for the Canadiens, Petry gets a second stint on a team that is young, ascending but still two years away from realistically contending in the Atlantic Division. Gaining a future second-round pick and a professional asset in Petry is neat business for playing the role of facilitator.