Sharks

Erik Karlsson mum on signing contract extension after trade to Sharks

Erik Karlsson mum on signing contract extension after trade to Sharks

The Sharks acquired Erik Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators on Thursday with the intention of ultimately re-signing him, but the defenseman stayed mum on the possibility of extending his contract beyond this season.

"As of right now, that's a private discussion, and that's [not] something I'm going to elaborate on," Karlsson said in a conference call with reporters Thursday when asked about his eagerness to sign an extension in San Jose. 

The 28-year-old defenseman is entering the final year of a seven-year, $45.5 million contract that he signed with Ottawa in 2012, and he's eligible to hit unrestricted free agency next summer. Karlsson said his focus lies on this season, as it did this morning when he said he woke up assuming he'd be a Senator. He fought back tears in his exit press conference in Ottawa. He told reporters there he "never wanted to leave" the Senators.

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said Thursday that he envisions Karlsson as a fixture on San Jose's blueline for years to come.

"When you get a highly competitive guy like this that comes available ... you step up." Wilson told reporters, speaking after Karlsson. "Yes, it's a long-term approach and we think Erik fits for us for now, and for a long time."

Wilson has reason to believe he can get a deal done. Evander Kane, who faced a similar future when the Sharks acquired him at the trade deadline in February, skipped free agency entirely and signed a seven-year, $49-million contract extension in May. Kane told NBC Sports California in an interview earlier this week that he always envisioned hitting the market, but his time in San Jose made his decision to re-sign rather straightforward.

"It was a lot easier to make the decision not to test free agency than I thought it would ever be," Kane said. 

It appears the Sharks made a strong impression on Karlsson, who said he was "extremely appreciative" the team gave up a package featuring two roster players, two prospects, a 2020 first-round pick, a second-round pick and conditional picks. Karlsson hasn't spent much time in the Bay Area, beyond a trip to San Francisco and Napa earlier this summer with his wife, Melinda, but he likes what he's seen of the team from afar. 

"They've been a good team for a number of years now," Karlsson said. "They were really good last year. I obviously know most of their players from playing against them and watching them on [television]. It's a real good team that I'm going to be joining, so I'm obviously excited about that and looking forward for the the challenge that we have ahead of us, and again, I'm going to do everything I can to be as good and ready as possible for when I do arrive."

The Swede isn't sure when that will be, as he still has to work through visa issues after being traded across the continent. When he does, the Sharks will hope to win him over. 

Why Peter DeBoer is confident Sharks can fill Joe Pavelski's scoring void

Why Peter DeBoer is confident Sharks can fill Joe Pavelski's scoring void

Joe Pavelski led the Sharks with 38 goals last season. That's 38 goals that now reside with the Dallas Stars.

It's not as if San Jose lacked for goal scoring this past year, having ranked second in the league with an average of 3.52 goals per game during the regular season. However, no Sharks player found the back of the net more often than Pavelski, meaning that if the Sharks are going to maintain or even surpass that offensive output next season, they're going to have to find those 38 goals elsewhere.

San Jose head coach Peter DeBoer touched on that very subject in a recent interview with NHL.com's Mike Zeisberger, in which he insisted that Pavelski's character will be tougher to replace than his goal-scoring.

"Look, it's hard to replace Pav's 38 goals," DeBoer conceded. "We scored a lot of goals last year and if we score a little bit less I don't think it will kill us. At least I hope it doesn't. The goals are one thing, but it's the leadership, the presence, the message that he would convey in the dressing room when times were tough. Those are the things that are harder to replace than his goals."

Part of the reason DeBoer is confident his team can adequately fill Pavelski's scoring void is due to the continued progression he's expecting from young players already on the roster.

"We've got to continue to hope that guys like Timo Meier can build on the season he had last year," DeBoer said. "Kevin Labanc too. I think Doug [Wilson] has done a great job of setting us up with young players in the pipeline we feel can create some offense."

Additionally, after Erik Karlsson was banged up throughout much of his debut season with the Sharks, DeBoer is hopeful the former Norris Trophy winner can have an even greater offensive impact moving forward after signing an eight-year contract in the offseason.

"When we had the opportunity to acquire Erik Karlsson last summer there was no hesitation in anyone's opinion to go forward on the possibility of doing that," DeBoer insisted. "Those are generational-type players and they rarely become available, if at all. It was a no-brainer to trade for him and it was a no-brainer to sign him. 

[RELATED: Why DeBoer credits Thornton for Sharks' historic power play]

"He's going to be a huge part of what we're doing going forward," DeBoer continued. "You take out Pavelski but you add Karlsson and some young guys. … The game might change in how we create and how we do things but I think he's going to have a big impact. The two months he was healthy he controlled a lot of the games we played. We just need to get him healthy so he can have a full healthy year to get into rhythm."

The Sharks are going to feel Pavelski's departure in more ways than one. Yes, his 355 goals rank second all-time in franchise history, but he brought so much more to the table than simply the ability to put the biscuit in the basket. However, if Karlsson, Meier, Labanc and others can combine to fill his resulting scoring void, Pavelski's absence won't be nearly as noticeable.

Red Wings hilariously troll Logan Couture on Pavel Datsyuk's birthday

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AP

Red Wings hilariously troll Logan Couture on Pavel Datsyuk's birthday

Pavel Datsyuk's birthday might not be a day that Sharks center Logan Couture circles on his calendar every year, but he was reminded Saturday.

In honor of "The Magic Man" turning 41, the Detroit Red Wings' Twitter account posted a GIF of Couture falling victim to Datsyukian dangle. Couture, understandably, was none too pleased. 

To make matters worse -- or at least more ironic -- for Couture, the GIF in question came on his 24th birthday. The Sharks hosted Datsyuk's Red Wings on March 28, 2013, back in Detroit's last season in the Western Conference and just two years after San Jose eliminated the Winged Wheel in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the second straight season.

The Red Wings were in the Western Conference for the first four years of Couture's career, and he played more regular-season and playoff games against Detroit (24) during that span than any team other than the Los Angeles Kings (30). Couture credited those matchups for helping him develop in a piece for The Players' Tribune in 2015, and called Datsyuk's deke "an example that my teammates will probably never let me live down." 

"Thankfully, I’m far from the only one to be victimized by Pavel," Couture wrote at the time. "He has the best hands in the NHL. One little trick he likes to do is stick-handle between a player’s tripod — between their feet and stick. He’ll even use the net as a prop to make you look dumb."

[RELATED: Why DeBoer credits Thornton for Sharks' historic Game 7 power play]

Datsyuk retired from the NHL three years ago to return to his native Russia, and signed with hometown Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg of the KHL this summer. There were rumors of him considering an NHL return, but Couture won't have to worry about Datsyuk's stickhandling much moving forward. 

Well, at least until the next time someone digs up the clip.