Karlsson's Deal To Stay With Sharks Saps NHL Offseason Of Some Buzz
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" (USATODAY.com, 6/17). Ray Ratto in a special to DEADSPIN.com 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" (DEADSPIN.com, 6/17).
LIKED WHAT HE SAW: ESPN.com'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" (ESPN.com, 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).