Erik Karlsson confirms he has spoken to 4 potential trade partners, including Leafs

The NHL's reigning Norris Trophy winner confirmed he has no intention of staying with the Sharks and wishes to be traded.

As trade rumours continue to swirl around the future of Erik Karlsson, the reigning Norris Trophy winner has confirmed he has spoken with multiple NHL teams regarding his next home.

After being presented the Guldpucken as Sweden’s top hockey player for a record third time, Karlsson confirmed to Expressen reporter Adam Johansson that he has no intention of remaining in San Jose and wishes to be traded.

The 33-year-old also added that he’d spoken with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs, Seattle Kraken, and Carolina Hurricanes, the four clubs most closely linked to the Sharks in trade talks for the future Hall of Famer.

“I've been open that I want to try to win and San Jose has been open that it won't happen there,” Karlsson told Expressen, via Google Translate. “We have a good relationship and we understand each other, even if it's not a fun situation to get through.”

Karlsson is adamant that winning, particularly as he approaches the later stages of his career, remains his sole priority.

“I just want the best chance to get to the best team,” he added. “Where it is, well, we'll see.”

Karlsson’s time with the Sharks has been tumultuous since his acquisition in 2018, with the club having missed the postseason in each of the past four seasons, prompting the disgruntled star to make his desire for an exit public.

Erik Karlsson doesn't see himself returning to the Sharks. (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)
Erik Karlsson doesn't see himself returning to the Sharks. (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

To make matters more difficult, Karlsson’s outsized contract, set to run for another four seasons at $11.5 million per year in AAV, has proven a tremendous roadblock in the process. Sharks GM Mike Grier has stated his unwillingness to retain the maximum 50% allowable by the CBA, limiting the number of teams able to make a play for the blueliner given the flat salary cap.

“I get updates but it's just a lot of talk back and forth,” Karlsson said about the progression of any potential deal. “I'll just have to wait and see what happens. I know what my family and I want. Now we just hope we get the chance.”

Erik Karlsson headshot
Erik Karlsson
D - PIT - #65
2022 - 2023 season

Last season, Karlsson became the first defenseman since Brian Leetch to reach the 100-point plateau, capping off his career year with 25 goals, 101 points, and a third Norris Trophy, the most among active blueliners.