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Sharks re-sign Erik Karlsson to biggest contract in team history

Curtis Pashelka, The Mercury News on

Published in Hockey

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The Sharks on Monday made Erik Karlsson a cornerstone of the franchise for years to come, not to mention the highest-paid defenseman in the NHL.

The Sharks signed Karlsson to an eight-year contract extension worth $92 million, a deal that carries an average annual value of per $11.5 million, according to CapFriendly. Bob McKenzie of TSN and Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic first reported the length and terms of the contract, the richest in Sharks history.

Karlsson, 29, was slated to become the league's most prized unrestricted free agent on July 1. A two-time Norris Trophy winner and a four-time first-team NHL All-Star, Karlsson has 129 goals and 563 points in 680 career NHL games.

Instead, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson has crossed off a major item on his summer to-do list.

"We are extremely pleased that Erik and his wife Melinda have committed to the San Jose Sharks and that they have done so prior to July 1," Wilson said in a statement. "Players with Erik's elite level of talent are rare and when they become available, it's important to be aggressive in pursuing them. He is a difference maker who consistently makes the players around him better.

"We are pleased that he has been proactive in addressing his injury from last season and are looking forward to him being part of our organization for a long time to come."

 

Hampered by a groin injury this past season, Karlsson played just 53 games with the Sharks and finished with 45 points. He had 16 points in 19 playoff games, as the Sharks advanced to the Western Conference final before they were eliminated in six games by the eventual Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues.

The Sharks are the only team that could have offered Karlsson an eight-year contract. Had Karlsson signed with another team once the league's free agency period began, the maximum length of the deal would have been seven years.

"I'm super excited to continue my journey with the Sharks," Karlsson said in a statement. "Since my first day here, I have only good things to say about the people, organization and the fans. The entire Bay Area has been extremely welcoming to me and my family. I appreciate that and we can't wait to spend the next eight years in San Jose."

Previously, the richest contract for any blueliner in the league belonged to Los Angeles' Drew Doughty, who will begin an eight-year, $88 million deal this fall.

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