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Volume 26 No. 65
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Karlsson's Deal To Stay With Sharks Saps NHL Offseason Of Some Buzz

A pursuit of Karlsson on the open market would have been one of the offseason's top storylines

Erik Karlsson made the NHL unrestricted free agent pool "far less intriguing when he agreed to an eight-year contract extension" to stay with the Sharks, who made him the league's "highest-paid defenseman" at more than $11M per season, according to Kevin Allen of USA TODAY. Blue Jackets LW Artemi Panarin will now be the "top unrestricted free agent on July 1" (, 6/17). Ray Ratto in a special to writes Karlsson staying with the Sharks is a "golden opportunity missed" for the NHL. The NBA has "figured out that nothing amuses the audience quite like the drama of player movement." Ratto: "The NHL gives us quiet negotiations and a great player staying with the team he was already on for the term and money everyone thought he would get" (, 6/17).

LIKED WHAT HE SAW:'s Greg Wyshynski noted the Sharks had a "few things going for them in the pursuit of Karlsson." Financially, they were in a "great position." No one was "going to outbid them," as GM Doug Wilson had the "full backing from an open-wallet ownership to aggressively bring him back." Plus, the Sharks were the only team that could "offer him eight years." Wyshynski: "Kudos to San Jose: They had a year to sell him on the organization, and they sold him" (, 6/17). In San Jose, Dieter Kurtenbach notes Wilson has been "bold over the last two years, and while this team hasn’t claimed hockey’s ultimate prize, that swashbuckling mentality has, unquestionably been a positive for the franchise." The Sharks have been "contenders for years and will likely remain contenders for years." Kurtenbach: "That’s next to impossible to do in today’s NHL, but Wilson is pulling it off" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 6/18).