When Erik Karlsson ’s postseason came to an end and he posted a thank you note on Twitter to the entire Bay Area, hockey fans immediately tried to determine what it meant in regard to his pending free agency. Was Karlsson saying goodbye to the San Jose Sharks after just one season? When rumors surfaced about the Tampa Bay Lightning, Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens, it seemed like the star defenseman might be heading back to the Eastern Conference. Not if Sharks general manager Doug Wilson has anything to say about it.
Both Kevin Kurz of The Athletic (subscription required) and Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet have reported in recent days that the Sharks are working hard to re-sign the right-handed defenseman, with a contract similar to Drew Doughty’s eight-year, $88M deal on the table.
Friedman notes that the team will need a decision soon as it prepares for the rest of its summer, but Karlsson is now just a few days away from the free agent interview period. Even if he does want to hear out other teams, however, a contract of that magnitude may be too hard to turn down. Karlsson’s recent injury history may have reduced the number of teams willing to offer him such a lucrative contract, and San Jose is the only team that can give him that elusive eighth year.