Sharks trade star Erik Karlsson to Penguins in blockbuster deal originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
The Erik Karlsson era in San Jose is coming to an end.
The Sharks have traded the reigning Norris Trophy winner to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team announced Sunday.
The blockbuster deal ends weeks of trade chatter surrounding the star defenseman and includes three teams — the Sharks, Penguins and Montreal Canadiens.
In addition to Karlsson, the Penguins also acquired forwards Rem Pitlick and Dillon Hamaliuk, along with San Jose’s 2026 third-round draft pick. The Sharks received Pittsburgh’s 2025 first-round pick (top-10 protected), forwards Mikeal Granlund and Mike Hoffman as well as defenseman Jan Rutta.
On their end of the deal, the Canadiens received the Penguins’ 2025 second-round draft pick, goalie Casey DeSmith, forward Nathan Legare and defenseman Jeff Petry. And the Sharks, who spent weeks working out a trade that would require them to retain as little of Karlsson’s remaining salary as possible, will retain $1.5 million of his salary per year while Pittsburgh will retain 25 percent of Petry’s salary.
Karlsson has four years and $46 million left on the eight-year, $92 million contract he signed with the Sharks in the summer of 2019. Karlsson waived his full no-movement clause for the trade to Pittsburgh.
Both Karlsson and the Sharks have been open about their desire to find a trade that worked for both sides, and now the 33-year-old goes to a Pittsburgh team on the fringes of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Karlsson has made it clear that at this point in his NHL career, winning is his top priority, and he knew that wouldn’t happen with the Sharks in the near future.
Karlsson leaves the Sharks after the best year of his 14-season NHL career, in which he registered a career-best 101 points (25 goals, 76 assists) and captured his third Norris Trophy.
The Sharks acquired Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators before the 2018-19 season, and that team went all the way to the Western Conference finals that year before losing to the St. Louis Blues.
But Karlsson and the Sharks haven’t been back to the postseason since, with several key members of the team either leaving in free agency or via a trade.
Now it’s Karlsson’s turn to leave.
As for the Sharks, they will continue their rebuild after one of the worst seasons in franchise history. They finished last season with a 22-44-16 record, good for just 60 points, the fourth fewest in the entire league.