NHLTR Mock Trade: San Jose Sharks trade Erik Karlsson to the Florida Panthers

Welcome to NHLTR mock trade series where we will showcase a potential 2023 offseason trade. From minor moves to major transactions, everything will be covered as we try to predict how the chips may fall this summer across the NHL.

For our next deal, let's head south to sunny California and circle the waters with the San Jose Sharks. Defenseman Erik Karlsson and the team have aligned their focus this summer to find the upcoming Norris trophy winner a new home. Karlsson's contract and no-movement clause are two large hurdles to get over, but it does sound like he's open to be moved. As for where, a new team has become a serious suitor:

NHLTR Mock Trade: Sharks trade Erik Karlsson (retaining 50% salary) to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a 2023 second-round pick, forward Eetu Luostarinen and prospect Marek Alscher. 

Sharks perspective: The Sharks are open to retaining salary and smart on GM Mike Grier to do so. Karlsson's $11.5 million annual salary is almost unmovable, even with a Norris trophy on the horizon. At only $5.75 against the cap through the 2026-27 season, he's much easier to digest for a new team. With this trade, San Jose lands a second rounder in a very deep draft, they also land a young forward with top-six potential who they can plug and play next season and a defensive prospect in Alscher who was a third-round pick last draft and has great size at 6-foot-3. 

Panthers perspective: Florida has emerged as a wildcard team in the Karlsson sweepstakes and with Aaron Ekblad likely missing the start of next season, it could give Karlsson a chance for some major minutes to start the 23-24 campaign. Having Karlsson and Brandon Montour on the back end would give the Panthers an elite power play and considering they have a lot of their team returning next season, this move could make them the Stanley Cup favorites.

Photo credit:  Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports