The San Jose Sharks landed two-time Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson in a trade with the Ottawa Senators last week, but that was only half the job for general manager Doug Wilson.
Up next? The Sharks will try to lock up their franchise player to a new deal eight-year deal. Karlsson is eligible to hit free agency for the first time in his career next summer, but Wilson's hoping to keep the perennial All-Star here beyond 2019.
"We wouldn't have done this deal if we weren't very comfortable of that opportunity, and that's why I was able to have discussions with their agents and with Erik," Wilson said, according to Curtis Pashela of the The Mercury News.
"When you have the type of team we have, the type of team and the type of players, [knowing] what players are looking for, I think we fill all those boxes...I've had conversations, in confidence with people, and came to the comfort zone of where we're at today."
Per CapFriendly.com, the Sharks only have approx. $1.717 million in salary cap space, so that leaves virtually no room to re-sign Karlsson unless some players are moved out. Captain Joe Pavelski is also a pending UFA, but it's hard to envision Wilson moving on from his top leader.
Joe Thornton, the greatest player in Sharks history, is also eligible for UFA status. But he will be 40 next summer, so it's possible that the future Hall of Famer opts to retire. If not, the Sharks may need to move on from Thornton if it means securing cap space to re-sign Karlsson long term.
The Sharks have most of their core players locked up for several more years, including goalie Martin Jones, sniper Evander Kane, All-Star Logan Couture and Norris Trophy winner Brent Burns. Re-signing Karlsson would keep their championship window (which is rapidly closing), open a few more years longer.
Karlsson may want to play out the season before making a decision on his long term future. If he hits the market next summer, Karlsson will essentially get to choose his team, because there isn't one club who wouldn't want him.