Opinion: The Return For Erik Karlsson Isn't THAT Bad

In case you've been living under a rock, Erik Karlsson was traded to the San Jose Sharks. After seeing the package that Ottawa got in return, many fans were calling for Dorion's head. However, the package the Senators received was not as bad as some people think. Let's take a look.
To start off, we'll look at the players acquired in the deal.

Dylan DeMelo is a fairly decent space-filler for the Senators in the short-term. He's 25, and isn't going to start declining any time soon. He picked up 20 points in 63 games with San Jose, 12 points short of Marc-Edouard Vlasic (who played 19 more games than DeMelo). His contract is short and cheap (900K for two years) so he certainly won't be a burden on the team's cap situation. Overall, a decent player, but don't expect too much

Chris Tierney is another decent player whose contract is very flexible. Coming off a career-high 17 goal, 40 point season, Tierney carries a cap hit of 2.9375 million dollars for the next two years. Considering J.G. Pageau was just ruled out for the next 4-6 months and Matt Duchene could very well be getting dealt before the trade deadline, they'll need someone like Tierney to step up. Like DeMelo, he's a good player, but not a game-changer.

Rudolfs Balcers is the pick most people were targeting with criticising, and I don't think that's fair. The 21-year old was a 5th round pick in 2015, and is actually looking pretty good at the AHL level. He led the San Jose Barracuda in goals and points last season, and had four point in as many games during the Calder cup playoffs. As we all know, AHL success does not equate to NHL success, but this is a good indicator that he could contribute to the Senators in the future. Overall, a good prospect that many blindly criticise.

Josh Norris is an interesting one. He's a good prospect, and drafted 19th overall in 2017. I think the main reason behind him coming has more to do with his relationship with Brady Tkachuk. I seem to recall another player from Boston University who threatened to not re-sign if changes weren't made in his organisation. I'm not saying Tkachuk will do the same, but if he did, the Senators having one of his old friends on the team might keep him around.
Anyways, Norris is a good centre prospect, ad will likely be an NHL player in a couple years.

On to the picks, where everything gets to Jackson Pollock levels of messy:

First, a 2019 second round pick. This one will either be San Jose's or Florida's (which was acquired in the Mike Hoffman trade), whichever pick is higher.

Second is a 2020 conditional 1st round pick. The condition is: if San Jose MAKES the playoffs in 2019, Ottawa gets the 2020 pick. If they MISS the playoffs, Ottawa gets the 2019 pick. Kind of strange, but it makes sense from Ottawa's perspective.

Third is a 2021 conditional 2nd round pick. This one is VERY confusing so bear with me. If Karlsson re-signs, Ottawa gets a 2021 2nd. If the Sharks make the cup final and re-sign Karlsson, it's upgraded to a 1st rounder. However, due to the wording, it sounds like Ottawa would get nothing if the Sharks make the final but Karlsson doesn't re-sign.

Finally, a conditional 1st round pick some time before 2022. The condition is hilarious. If Karlsson finds himself on an eastern conference roster during 2018-19, the Sharks give Ottawa a 1st round pick no later than 2022. I think this may have something to do with San Jose completely bamboozling the Senators in the Mike Hoffman trade.

So best case, the Senators get two decent roster players who will have to take on significant responsibilities right out of the gate, two pretty good prospects for the future, three 1st round picks, and a 2nd round pick. That, in my opinion, is a great return for Karlsson.

Worst case scenario, which is Karlsson not-resigning and not being dealt to an eastern conference team this year, the Senators only get one 1st rounder and one 2nd rounder. Okay... not that great anymore. However, I have to assume Karlsson will re-sign with San Jose. They did not just dump a ton of players and possible picks for a rental. So Ottawa is almost guaranteed that 2nd round pick. As to whether or not they make the finals... I doubt it. There's too many teams in the west that are equally skilled, if not better (Nashville, Vegas, Los Angeles, Winnipeg if they re-sign Morrissey).

So realistically, one 1st rounder and two 2nd rounders, which is mediocre return for the Ottawa. Granted, their hands were tied in this situation, so the package was never going to be THAT good.

Personally, I would've tried to target Norris, Merkley, and maybe 2 draft picks (2nds that could upgrade to 1sts). It's entirely possible that Dorion was looking for that, I'm not certain.

Anyways, given the situation the Senators management had put themselves in, the return from Erik Karlsson was alright. It wasn't a home-run by any stretch, but it wasn't laughable either.

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