TORONTO- San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier said he’s open to hearing from teams who approach him about Erik Karlsson before the March 3 trade deadline.
The 32-year-old defenseman has a no-trade clause in the eight-year, $92 million ($11.5 million annual average) contract he signed with the Sharks on June 17, 2019.
“I’ll listen, but ultimately it’s going to be up to Erik as well,” Grier said after the NHL general managers’ meeting in Toronto. “He has a no-trade clause and he’s in control of what he wants to do. I know he’s happy right now. He’s happy in San Jose. His family is happy there. And we’re happy that way , he plays on. »
Karlsson leads NHL defensemen in goals (10) and points (22) and ranks eighth among all skaters in points Artemi Panarin (five goals, 17 assists) for the New York Rangers.
Karlsson won the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defenseman with the Ottawa Senators in 2011-12 and 2014-15.
The Sharks (5-9-3) have missed the playoffs the past three seasons and are currently in sixth place in the Pacific Division.
“He’s a dynamic player,” Grier said. To me, he’s probably one of the top three offensive defensemen in the league and he excels for us. He did everything we asked in terms of preparation, training, games. He is amazing.
“So there could be a scenario where a team asks about him because I think he can be a difference maker. He’s the kind of player that can win you a game — or a series for that matter — so there something can happen. We’ll see.”
Video: [email protected]: Karlsson equalizes on face-off
Asked about the reasons that might explain Karlsson’s solid start to the season, Grier pointed to his defender’s health and state of mind. The GM said he and Karlsson had had good conversations since he was hired on July 5 and that coach David Quinn had traveled to Ottawa to visit him over the summer.
“I think the communication with him was honest and open,” Grier said. If he needs a day off or wants to talk about hockey-related things, our doors are always open. And I think he’s fine where he is now, both in his personal and family life and in the relationship he has with us, where it’s give and take. »
It will remain the same in the event of a potential transaction.
“I try to keep in touch with him every week, whether it’s just having coffee with him or something like that at the practice facility or on the road,” Grier said. I make sure I know how he feels, both for him and for other of our veterans.
“Depending on how the season goes, I’ll try to be honest with these guys and keep them updated. I also want to know their opinions, how they feel and what they want to do in terms of the next steps in their careers. »