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Penguins acquire 3-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Erik Karlsson in a trade with the Sharks

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Erik Karlsson is heading to the Pittsburgh Penguins in their latest win-now move, a midsummer blockbuster trade with the San Jose Sharks that also involves the Montreal Canadiens.

Pittsburgh traded a 2024 first-round pick, forward Mikael Granlund and defenseman Jan Rutta to San Jose and goaltender Casey DeSmith, defenseman Jeff Petry, a 2025 second-round pick and prospect Nathan Legare to Montreal as part of the deal for the three-time Norris Trophy winner.

Karlsson is the first defenseman to be traded fresh off winning the Norris as the NHL’s top defenseman since Doug Harvey in 1961. The 33-year-old Swede became the first player at the position to record 100 points in a season since Brian Leetch in 1991-92.

“While it is always difficult to trade a player of the caliber of Erik Karlsson, this trade accomplishes several goals for our franchise,” Sharks general manager Mike Grier said. “It adds two forwards to our roster who have proven ability to produce offensively at the NHL level and solidifies our NHL defense corps. Additionally, acquiring another first-round pick gives us the opportunity to continue fortifying our development system with high-end prospects and provides us some financial flexibility to add players as we see fit in the future.”

The complicated trade included the Canadiens to make the salaries work. Karlsson has four years left on his contract at a cap hit of $11.5 million — $1.5 million of which San Jose will retain through the end of the deal in 2027.

As part of the trade, the Penguins also received forward Rem Pitlick, prospect Dillon Hamaliuk and San Jose’s 2026 third-round pick. The Sharks also got Mike Hoffman from the Canadiens.

Karlsson, who also won the Norris in 2012 and 2015, is going to his third NHL organization. He played his first nine seasons with the Ottawa Senators before he was traded to San Jose in 2018.

In 987 regular-season and playoff games, Karlsson has 814 points — the most of any defenseman since he broke into the league in 2009. He has not appeared in the playoffs since 2019 and will now be an important part of trying to get Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and the Penguins back after their lengthy streak ended last season, prompting major front office changes.

New president of hockey operations and general manager Kyle Dubas replaced fired Brian Burke and Ron Hextall, assuming a mandate from ownership to keep Pittsburgh contending with Crosby, Malkin and Letang still under contract. The Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009, 2016 and 2017.



The Associated Press