Sharks

Sharks' Erik Karlsson says injured groin 'back to normal' after surgery

Sharks' Erik Karlsson says injured groin 'back to normal' after surgery

Groin injuries ultimately ended Erik Karlsson's first season with the Sharks, but the defenseman says he won't be affected moving forward. 

"Right now, it feels like it’s back to normal,” Karlsson told The Athletic's Kevin Kurz in a sit-down interview Thursday. " ... Honestly, it probably felt pretty good sooner than I expected, but I still took the appropriate time that the surgeons wanted for it to be healed.”

Karlsson underwent surgery groin surgery at the end of May after missing 27 of the Sharks' final 33 regular-season games. The defenseman initially injured his groin on Jan. 16, but returned to San Jose's lineup a month later and suited up for NHL All-Star Weekend at SAP Center in between. Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said Karlsson tweaked his groin on Feb. 24 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Although Karlsson played in the Sharks' next game two days later, he played just 14:24 and would not play again until San Jose's regular-season finale on April 6.

The blue liner appeared hobbled during the Stanley Cup playoffs. Karlsson missed much of the third period in Game 4 of the Western Conference final against the eventual Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues after aggravating his groin, and played just 10:32 in Game 5. He did not play in the Sharks' season-ending loss in Game 6 of the Western Conference final. 

Although his groin caused him to miss much of the stretch run, Karlsson told Kurz he does not regret holding off surgery for the offseason. 

“I most likely would have missed the whole year,” he told Kurz. “Now it feels that it’s something that shouldn’t affect anything else moving forward, and it shouldn’t be a problem that I have again.”

[RELATED: How Thornton's return could help Sharks' young forwards]

Karlsson was limited in the postseason, but tied for second on the Sharks with 16 points and led them with 14 assists. The Sharks saw enough in Karlsson's 69 regular-season and playoff games, signing him to an eight-year contract that made him the NHL's highest-paid defenseman.

With health on his side and his long-term future sorted out, Karlsson has a chance to play to his potential that prompted Sharks general manager Doug Wilson to acquire the two-time Norris Trophy winner in a blockbuster trade a year ago. 

Sharks' return in Brenden Dillon trade leaves something to be desired

Sharks' return in Brenden Dillon trade leaves something to be desired

The wait is over. Brenden Dillon has been traded from the Sharks to the Washington Capitals.

After weeks of being one of the most prominent names mentioned in trade rumors, Dillon got some clarity about his playing career Tuesday when San Jose traded him to the Capitals, who currently sit in first place in the Eastern Conference. In exchange for the rugged defenseman, the Sharks receive the Colorado Avalanche's 2020 second-round draft pick and a conditional 2021 third-round draft pick.

According to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun, San Jose will get the Arizona Coyotes' 2020 third-round draft pick if Dillon and the Capitals go on to win the Stanley Cup this season. In the event they don't, the Sharks instead will get Washington's 2021 third-round draft pick.

So, the Sharks get a second and third-round draft pick for their pending unrestricted free agent. It's just a matter of when that third-rounder is conveyed, and from which team.

LeBrun reported that San Jose had remained consistent with its asking price for Dillon throughout the past week, and apparently, the Capitals were the first to meet it. Two fairly high draft picks for a rental is a pretty sizeable haul for the Sharks, and that return will prove very helpful in reloading their cupboard of assets. That said, it's fair to wonder if San Jose might have been able to get more in return for one of the best defensemen available at the NHL trade deadline.

On TSN's Trade Tracker, Dillon was listed as the No. 4 player overall and No. 2 defenseman on the big board. On The Athletic's NHL Trade Big Board, he was ranked as the No. 7 player overall and the third-highest rated defenseman. On The Fourth Period's Trade Watch List, he was ranked No. 6 and No. 3, respectively. On each and every one of those sites, Dillon was rated considerably higher than Andy Greene, Dylan DeMelo and Marco Scandella, all defensemen who 1) also have been traded within the last 72 hours, 2) are pending unrestricted free agents, and 3) brought back very similar returns.

For the 37-year-old Greene, the New York Islanders traded their 2021 second-round draft pick and prospect David Quenneville to the New Jersey Devils. Dillon not only is eight years younger than Greene, but has been a considerably better performer this season. Dillon's Corsi (47.51) and Fenwick (46.84) percentages -- which calculate the percentage of total and unblocked shot attempts while that player is on the ice for that player's team -- are significantly superior to the elder Greene's (40.35 percent; 41.95 percent). Greene was the Devils' captain, however, and that likely had something to do with New Jersey getting what it did for him.

While DeMelo (26 years old) and Scandella (turns 30 years old Sunday) both are much closer to Dillon's age and measure up better in both Corsi and Fenwick percentages this season, there's no question as to which of the three is the best player. Yet, the Ottawa Senators fetched a 2020 third-round draft pick from the Winnipeg Jets for DeMelo, and the Montreal Canadiens got a 2020 second-round and 2021 conditional fourth-round pick from the St. Louis Blues for Scandella -- whom Montreal traded a 2020 fourth-round draft pick to the Buffalo Sabres to acquire last month.

While Dillon's annual cap hit ($3.27 million) is considerably more expensive than DeMelo's ($900,000), it's actually cheaper than both Scandella's ($4 million) and Greene's ($5 million). When you consider San Jose retained 50 percent of Dillon's cap hit in the deal with Washington -- meaning the Capitals are taking on only $735,000 more salary against the cap for Dillon than the Jets are for DeMelo -- it begs the question as to if the Sharks maximized value in their return.

[RELATED: Report: Execs believe Jumbo trade to Bruins or Avs fits]

Don't get me wrong. The draft picks are very much needed, and certainly more useful to San Jose's future than Dillon will be, as re-signing the defenseman on the open market remains a long shot. The Sharks need to get whatever they can for players that will be of more use to them elsewhere, and the fact that Dillon wasn't traded until Tuesday after weeks (months?) of speculation could lead one to believe that a better offer wasn't available, nor was there going to be one. Still, given what some other teams got in return for worse defensemen, it leaves something to be desired.

Programming Note: The "2020 NHL Trade Deadline Show" is coming your way this Monday at 11:30am on the MyTeams app and on NBCSportsBayArea.com! How will the Sharks be impacted heading into the Noon deadline? Don’t miss it!

NHL rumors: Execs believe Joe Thornton trade to Bruins, Avalanche fits

NHL rumors: Execs believe Joe Thornton trade to Bruins, Avalanche fits

The Sharks already have begun wheeling and dealing ahead of the Feb. 24 NHL trade deadline. 

San Jose traded defenseman Brenden Dillon to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday for a 2020 second-round draft pick (Colorado's previously acquired by Washington) and a third-round draft pick in either 2020 or 2021. And Sharks general manager Doug Wilson is expected to stay busy before the deadline. 

The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reported Sunday that "the belief is Sharks general manager Doug Wilson has put up the “For Sale” sign and is trying to move as many pieces as possible before the deadline." All eyes now are on a franchise icon. 

Will the Sharks trade Joe Thornton to give him a better chance at finally winning a championship? It sounds like they might be leaning that way. 

"He has a full 'no move' clause, but the Sharks would like to give him the opportunity to win a Stanley Cup," Garrioch wrote. "If he’s going to be dealt, then league executives believe he’ll only go to a team that has a chance to win, so the Colorado Avalanche and Boston Bruins are both viewed as good fits." 

The Bruins (37-11-12) lead the NHL in points (86) and are the top team in Eastern Conference. The Avalanche (33-18-7) are third in the Western Conference with 73 points. 

Thornton, 40, spent his first seven-and-a-half seasons with the Bruins before the Sharks acquired him from Boston in November 2005. He won both the Art Ross Trophy and Hart Memorial Trophy that season. 

The center has scored 25 points -- two goals and 23 points -- over 59 games this season. Thornton is the active leader in points with 1,503 and currently ranks 14th in NHL history in that category. 

[RELATED: How Sharks can benefit from injuries at NHL trade deadline]

The Sharks (26-29-4) have the third-worst record in the Western Conference. It would be no surprise if they have more moves to come, but would San Jose really trade its all-time assists leader in what possibly could his final season in the NHL?

With less than a week to go before the trade deadline, there will be plenty of attention on Wilson and what he does with a legend in San Jose.

Programming Note: The "2020 NHL Trade Deadline Show" is coming your way this Monday at 11:30am on the MyTeams app and on NBCSportsBayArea.com! How will the Sharks be impacted heading into the Noon deadline? Don’t miss it!