There are whispers Erik Karlsson may not stay in San Jose. If he leaves, it could open the door for the Sharks to go after someone like Mitch Marner.
The Mercury News is suggesting that because of the struggles in San Jose this season, star defenseman Erik Karlsson may decide not to re-sign with the Sharks. If that happens, general manager Doug Wilson will need to move the team in another direction and make a big splash. Paul Gackle writes that splash could come in the form of Toronto Maple Leafs' forward Marner who will be a restricted free agent at the end of this season.
For this rumor to be accurate, there is a lot that would need to happen. First, Karlsson would have to decide he sees no future in San Jose. That includes giving up an extra year on any long-term contract and determining that the Sharks are not a contender moving forward. Second, the Maple Leafs would have to be in a bind with Marner and there be clear signs he won't get re-signed thanks to the salary cap issues in Toronto. Finally, if a deal between the two teams can't be worked out via trade, an offer sheet becomes the only option for San Jose, which in and of itself, is tricky to manage and seldom done in today's NHL.
If all three things fell just right, Marner would add youth, speed, and playmaking skills to the Sharks’ forward lines and be a major get for the organization.
Paul Gackle writes, "At this point, the assumption is that the Maple Leafs will do everything possible to hang onto [Auston] Matthews. If that’s the case, the Sharks could take a run at Marner, either through trade or offer sheet. The latter would be costly and require some real finagling."
What This Means
Right now, that anyone is even talking about this as an option means that things in San Jose are not looking good when it comes to Karlsson. It also means that teams like San Jose are looking at the Maple Leafs and realizing there could be an opportunity to strike while the team struggles to manage its salary cap.