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Erik Karlsson has left the city of Ottawa, finally. It’s an end of an era for Karlsson and the Sens after the all-star defenceman was traded to San Jose Thursday after months of rumours and trade speculation. In his time in Ottawa Karlsson won two Norris trophies as the best defenceman and was a six time all star, tied for the most in franchise history. Karlsson also ranked third in assists and points in Sens history and was a vital part of the Sens Cinderella Eastern Conference final run in 2016.
2017 was a disappointing year to be a Sens fan. The Sens were terrible on the ice and had major issues off the ice. The team missed the playoffs for the third time in five seasons and almost hit rock bottom. 2017 was such a different team than the one that was almost a goal away from the Stanley Cup finals in 2016. There was no light at the end of the tunnel just darkness, needless to say 2017 was a circus, a lot of clowns that were playing around for our entertainment. For Karlsson it must be hard to be traded away, but the way the Sens have been operating for the last few seasons you can only feel relief for him. He’s going to a team that has one of the best front offices in the league, despite not winning the cup, the Sharks have remained competitive in a much tougher western conference for so many years. The Sharks have only missed the playoffs twice in this century and were in the finals just two years ago. How can you feel sorry for a guy that just became part of one of the best defensive cores in the league with the 2017 Norris winner? Also having a solid starter in Martin Jones who has won 102 games in three seasons as a starter in the Bay area adds to just how big of an upgrade this team is for the Swede.
The Sens quite simply couldn’t take care of business, they couldn’t take care of their franchise player. There was Erik Karlsson’s wife filing a protection order against Mike Hoffman’s fiancé and Mike Hoffman got shipped out of Ottawa. The drama continued and it sounded like a show based on the E network. How come they can’t sell out an Eastern Conference Final game against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins? I looked at the tickets on ticket master and ice level seats were $220 dollars. Yeah you read that right. Imagine that in Toronto. The tickets for the same row would triple the cost and sell out. The ownership in Ottawa is a joke. Eugene Melnyk even said that he would relocate the team if it became a disaster. Yes that’s how you bring the fan base on your side by threatening them to move and basically waste the last 25 years of hard work building the market. The arena is nowhere and in Kanata. Yup basically you need to get a car to go get something to eat around the arena if you don’t want to pay for pricey foods. Also Ottawa just hasn’t been able to keep any of their top guys. Ever since the Alexei Yashin days the team can’t keep a hold of their big name players. Chris Phillips has played the most games for the Sens and was the longest tenor player on the team, but was he a franchise player and a great player? No he was good but not great. Daniel Alfredsson left after having the best years the team had, Jason Spezza didn’t want to play in Ottawa anymore and went to Dallas, Dany Heatley got bored and asked for a trade, then Wade Redden wanting to play in a bigger city with brighter lights in New York. Erik Karlsson could have been the guy to break that mold. The one all-star that would stay through thick and thin. Management decided they couldn’t keep him, they decided that they would rather pay Bobby Ryan over 7 million and hold on to Matt Duchene with 6 million dollars on his contract. Talk about bad decisions. Erik Karlsson deserved better.
The San Jose Sharks deserve credit for making this deal. It’s a franchise that’s still hungry. Doug Wilson is still making big trades that can help the Sharks be Stanley Cup contenders. The Sharks gave up 28 more goals last season compared to 2016, look for that stat to be closer to 200 goals again. The Sharks got a defenceman than help the team greatly on offence needless to say. In the last five seasons Karlsson has eclipsed over 60 points per season, that helps the sharks offence immensely. Expect their power play to improve after ranking just 16th in the league last season. With this trade the Sharks still want to win now. Not in 3-5 years. The Sharks have their eyes set for a long playoff push this upcoming season.
What does this mean for the Ottawa Senators? They are moving forward with a rebuild, using young players to help the team for the next generation. They have Mark Stone who’s good and can potentially be the teams next captain, as well as Ryan Dzingel who was a bright spot for the team scoring 23 goals last season. Chris Tierney who was traded to Ottawa as part of the Erik Karlsson deal will look to make a bigger impact on the ice as his ice time will increase this season in Ottawa compared to playing in San Jose last season. It’s a new season that will scrape off last season’s drama and give the Sens a chance at a clean slate. Though a black cloud still rains over the franchise. It’s a fan base that wants its franchise player back, new arena and new ownership. How bad does this Erik Karlsson trade hurt? Real bad and its not going to heal overnight. Get ready Sens fans rebuilding season is coming!