"We kind of kept our powder dry hoping this type of opportunity would come to fruition and it did".
Karlsson joins a team with a top goaltender in Martin Jones; skilled forwards in Logan Couture, Evander Kane, Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski; and one of the league's top defensive units featuring 2017 Norris Trophy victor Brent Burns and shutdown defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Fans who had been holding out hope for years that the team might figure out a way for the two-time Norris Trophy victor to stay in Ottawa after his contract expired at the end of this season were essentially told there was no chance of that, not when the owner was matter-of-factly explaining that he expects nearly half the roster to be rookies this year. Karlsson said the deal still came as a shock but he is eager to begin work on a team that made the Stanley Cup Final in 2016 and lost to Vegas in the second round previous year.
"As of right now, it's extremely emotional and sad moment", said Karlsson, his voice catching in his throat. In my time over the last five years with Tom Gaglardi and Jim Nill, it is clear how bad they want to win and have a model franchise. "I don't know what the timeframe is on that because of his immigration and things like that, but we'll get him in here and then we'll start to look at some of those things".
In exchange for Karlsson, the Senators received forward Chris Tierney, defenseman Dylan DeMelo, prospects Josh Norris and Rudolfs Balcers, a first-round pick in 2020, a second-round selection in 2019, and two conditional picks. With Karlsson in the fold, it's likely the Sabres will have the Sharks pick at the next draft.
"I hold this place above anything else", offered Karlsson, who also mentioned that he'd remain "an Ottawa resident forever".
It's also just incredible that fans will have to endure another horrendous season while not having their own first round pick as compensation at the end of the year.
The Ottawa Senators promised they were going into rebuild mode earlier this week. "We are going to build a culture of consistency which will allow this team to sustain better performance over the long term".
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Karlsson has one year left on his contract and has been the subject of rumours dating to the trade deadline.
Karlsson won the Norris Trophy in 2012 and 2015 and has been named an NHL First Team All-Star four times (2012, 2015, 2016, 2017).
The Sharks wanted to improve that unit this offseason and with Karlsson potentially setting up Burns for big point shots, they found the missing piece.
Karlsson had 62 points (nine goals, 53 assists) in 71 games last season. A case in point is the infamous 1992 Eric Lindros trade, which wound up playing a key role in the creation of the Colorado Avalanche dynasty and didn't work out too well for the Flyers; however, that deal looks so lopsided in hindsight largely thanks to Lindros' concussions (not predictable at the time), and it should also be noted that that was a deal made for a player who hadn't yet played in the National Hockey League, not an already-existing star like Karlsson.
"I never really thought it was a possibility until I got the call this morning that we were doing it", coach Peter DeBoer said.
There's always some uncertainty with trades, of course, and just because the Sharks are getting the best player in the deal right now doesn't mean that will work out in the long run. He's expressed that to us, that we are a place he'd like to be, and same thing [for] us back to him.
In 627 career games, the speedy native of Landsbro, Sweden, has 126 goals and 392 assists, while averaging just under 26 minutes a night. Even on a surgically repaired foot, Karlsson drove play last season in a way that few ever have from the back end.