Ottawa Senators

NHL rumors: Erik Karlsson hopes Senators, Canadiens will make contract offers

NHL rumors: Erik Karlsson hopes Senators, Canadiens will make contract offers

Days after the Sharks were eliminated by the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of the Western Conference final, Erik Karlsson tweeted out what many believed was a goodbye message to the team and its fans.

It turns out that might just be the case.

Karlsson was traded to the Sharks last offseason from the Ottawa Senators, but a return to Canada reportedly could be in the cards for the star defenseman. The Ottawa Sun's Don Brennan reported Tuesday, citing "a well-connected source," that Karlsson hopes to receive contract offers from the Senators and the Montreal Canadiens when NHL free agency opens July 1.

While Karlsson has loved his time with the Sharks, Brennan reported that the blueliner is hoping for a return to Canada because his wife, Melinda, is an Ottawa native who is "homesick."

That certainly would be a good reason to head back to the Eastern Conference.

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported Saturday that Karlsson would give a "long, hard look" to staying with the Sharks, but Brennan reported it is believed the defenseman already has decided that he is leaving San Jose.

Brennan noted that both the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs also would fit the bill, but neither reportedly are on Karlsson's list as of right now.

[RELATED: Sharks' blue line facing ample uncertainty this offseason]

Before trading him to the Sharks, the Senators offered Karlsson an eight-year, $80 million deal that he declined. The Senators probably could sign Karlsson for less than that now, given his injury history, but a number of other teams also will be in play for his services.

At any rate, it appears Karlsson's time in San Jose could be over.

Erik Karlsson ready to capitalize on Sharks' 'great chance' vs. Blues

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USATSI

Erik Karlsson ready to capitalize on Sharks' 'great chance' vs. Blues

SAN JOSE -- Having an eye on the Stanley Cup Final isn’t something that's come about recently for the Sharks. San Jose has been focused on hockey’s biggest stage since before the 2018-19 campaign even started, when the team acquired Erik Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators.

Now, after a rollercoaster regular season, the two-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman and his teammates are gearing up for a Western Conference final run. In talking to the press ahead of Game 1, Karlsson reflected on joining the team at the start of the season and how the Stanley Cup Final has always been in the team’s sights.

“Once I got traded here, I knew we had a great chance,” Karlsson told the press. “(They were a) great team already, for me to come into and kind of find my way. And here we are. We put in the work throughout the whole year and in these playoffs to get to this position.”

This isn’t EK65’s first trip to a conference final, of course. He and the Sens made it through seven games in 2017 before Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins knocked them out of the running for the Lord Stanley’s Cup. Karlsson admitted he can’t compare both conference final trips since the current one hasn’t happened yet. But he did acknowledge his level of confidence in San Jose is very high.

“I feel more confident, comfortable now than maybe I did then,” he said. “I think with Ottawa, it was a little unexpected. We weren’t looking that far ahead. Here, I think, this year, we’ve taken an aim at the Cup Final since Game 1. That’s our expectation.”

Karlsson’s season with Team Teal hasn’t been without its ups and downs. It took him a bit of time to get acclimated to San Jose after having only played with Ottawa during his professional career. Then came the mid-season injury that left him sidelined until the last game of the regular season. As the Sharks’ playoff run has continued, Karlsson’s level of play has only improved.

“Erik’s one of the best players in the game, look at the journey this year,” Sharks’ general manager Doug Wilson said. “He’s an important part of our team. He’s a difference-maker.”

Wilson was quick to point out that the Sharks are a “sum of their parts,” as opposed to relying on one single player. Karlsson is part of that winning equation.

“We’re going to win in different ways on different nights with different guys stepping up,” he said, “and I think that’s the beauty of our group.”

[RELATED: Sharks preparing to play more physical series vs. Blues]

There is still no indication as to how long Karlsson will play for San Jose. For the time being, the Sharks are focused on making their playoff run last even longer.

“For me, this is a privilege, and something when I got traded here that I wished for,” Karlsson said. “But there’s no guarantees. Everything that this team and this organization has shown me is that they’re willing to put in the work to get to where we want to go. And now we’re sitting here and have some work left to do.”

Erik Karlsson contract: How Sharks fan made pitch with song parody

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USATSI

Erik Karlsson contract: How Sharks fan made pitch with song parody

How do you convince one of the best hockey players in the world to stay with your favorite team? You could always follow Sharks fan Emily Hall’s lead.

Hall wrote and sang “Time Is Nigh,” a parody of Blondie’s 1980 hit “The Tide Is High,” centered on San Jose defenseman (and pending free agent) Erik Karlsson.

When Blondie came on while she was grocery shopping back in December -- in an aisle with teal gummy sharks and Swedish Fish, no less -- she had her inspiration.

“I’m like, (singing) ‘the tide is high … the time is nigh,’ and literally, that’s how it hits me,” Hall recalled in a phone interview with NBC Sports California on Wednesday. “I just hear a phrase, and it comes together … and it sometimes never leaves my head until I actually finish it.”

This was shortly after Karlsson walked out of a press scrum that began moments earlier with The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell telling him “the time is nigh” for his first game against his former team, the Ottawa Senators. Karlsson opened his press conference in Ottawa the next day with the same four words, and they were soon stuck in Hall’s head.

But Hall, a Berkeley resident who has parodied songs with a teal twist on her YouTube page for over a decade, knew that a clever turn of phrase could only go so far.

“I actually try to take a song that has a feel of what it is,” she said. “In the case of ‘The Tide Is High,’ that song is about longing.”

That’s a feeling familiar to anyone who’s held a boombox outside of a window, flipped cue cards on a doorstep, or mouthed “you complete me.” Hall employed all three iconic romantic-comedy tropes in her video, and for good reason.

Since Feb. 25, Karlsson has been eligible to sign an eight-year contract extension with the Sharks. The defenseman can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and, like a rom-com lead making their dramatic pitch, Sharks fans (including Hall) are smitten and don’t want to see him leave.

"He has a lot to offer, right? His skating ability is amazing, and he just seems to have a really good attitude on the ice,” Hall said. “There's something about his personality that seems to fit. But not only that, when he's top of his game and the Sharks are clicking, just look at we went through. That last part of December and part of January was amazing.”

Hall recorded “Time Is Nigh” at some point after that run, and shot the video with her husband on a dreary February weekend in San Jose, just before the NHL trade deadline. She uploaded the video to YouTube on Monday, as well as the song recording and its lyrics to the karaoke app Smule to encourage other Sharks fans to sing along.

At least one Karlsson has heard it. Melinda Karlsson, Erik’s wife, tweeted on Monday that she was a fan.

The Karlssons have some time to ruminate on Hall’s parody pitch, and however the Sharks try to top it.

[RELATED: Jones carries Sharks to win, point back of Flames in West]

In the meantime, Hall just wants him to get healthy. Karlsson has missed 13 of the Sharks’ last 18 games with a recurring groin injury, and Hall thinks they should rest him as much as possible prior to playing “a few games before the playoffs to get playoff-ready.”

Hall has followed this team since 1998, ever since she first attended a game on what was just her second date with her husband. With Karlsson in the fold, this San Jose team is as good as any she’s seen.

“I think the Sharks have a shot [at the Stanley Cup],” Hall said. “I do. I think this is the best roster we’ve ever had. … I think that we can beat Calgary. I think that we can beat Tampa, really.”

And if they do, Hall will have plenty to sing about.