Fantasy Impact: Erik Karlsson Traded to San Jose

by Michael Clifford on September 13, 2018


The trade we’ve been waiting for since basically last summer finally occurred as the Erik Karlsson saga is over in Ottawa, and he’s found a new home in San Jose.

Let’s not waste time and get to the particulars:



One of those conditional picks is a 2nd in 2021 that turns into a 1st if the Sharks re-sign him this year and make the Cup Final (per Dean Brown). The other conditional pick is a 1st in 2021 or 2022 if they trade him to an Eastern Conference team this year, which won’t happen. So if the Sharks don’t make the Final this year, the two conditions amount to an additional second-round pick three drafts from now.

I will defer to our Dobber Prospects profiles of Rudolfs Balcers and Josh Norris for more information on those particular players.  


Fantasy Impact For San Jose

The power play is the first thing that needs to be addressed.

There are a lot of mouths to feed. Joe Thornton is back and (hopefully) healthy, with Evander Kane now around. Add Pavelski, Logan Couture, and Brent Burns, and there’s one guy too many. Were I to guess, it’s Kane that gets the short end of the stick. But there’s just no telling what they decide to do here. I cannot fathom they leave one of Burns or Karlsson on the bench for a power play, so if everyone’s healthy, my money is on Kane riding the pine when power plays roll around.

Of course, health matters, and if Thornton’s knee issues linger, all this is moot.

At even strength this is a big boost for everyone. Over the last three seasons, Karlsson’s on-ice goals for/60 minutes at 5v5 relative to his teammates is 0.59 (according to Corsica). Other d-men in that range: John Klingberg (0.62) and new teammate Brent Burns (0.49). He drives offence to an exceptional degree, that isn’t a shock. But that also means one of Karlsson or Burns will be on the ice for the vast majority of the game. This is all great news for the forwards.

This might be a ding to Karlsson now that he likely won’t be asked to play 27 minutes a night. He should settle in the 24 range. Though if they score that much more than in Ottawa, it won’t matter too much.

The trade also means those Tim Heed shares are likely DOA. He has one year left until he’s UFA. If Karlsson re-signs with the Sharks, Heed will be, at best, the third RD for San Jose two years from now with almost no PP time. I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds his way to another team in the offseason.

It also means an open spot as the third-line centre. Supposing that role wasn’t Tomas Hertl’s before, it is now. With the additional firepower brought in over the last half-year or so, and a healthy Thornton, Hertl’s also lost his power play time. Hertl set a career-high last year with 22 goals and tied a career-high with 46 points. He did so playing 18 minutes a game including some top PP minutes. Those numbers are all sure to come down. If he can post 20 goals and 40 points, that would be a huge success.

That opens a spot next to Logan Couture and Timo Meier looks ready to take that next step. He should be locked on San Jose’s second line now and though he won’t get top PP minutes, he will get more even strength ice time and now he has a generational puck mover behind him. Meier had a quiet 20-goal year playing under 15 minutes a game. If he can get 16 minutes, he can get to the 25-goal plateau.


Who this helps:

Most Sharks forwards but Timo Meier specifically


Who hurts:

Tim Heed

Tomas Hertl


Fantasy Impact For Ottawa

I am going to assume both Norris and Balcers will not be on the NHL roster this year. You can read the Dobber Prospects profile linked above.

Chris Tierney is a good third-line centre. He’ll probably split middle-six duties with J-G Pageau, but that’s just until Matt Duchene is traded. That trade could come anytime between now and March, but when it does happen, Tierney could ostensibly be the top-line centre. Until then, he will probably play 17 minutes a game but will do so without Mark Stone, basically the team’s last standing top-end winger. Even with additional ice time, the Sens are lacking puck movers outside Thomas Chabot (potentially) and scoring wingers with the uncertainty about Stone’s future and Bobby Ryan’s health. He’s a deep league option but nothing more

Dylan DeMelo should slide on the second pair behind Cody Ceci now and that should be a frightening prospect for Ottawa goaltenders. This is a bad blue line and though DeMelo is fine as a third-pair guy, and is probably underrated a bit defensively, going from Karlsson to DeMelo is a gigantic step down. Maybe he takes a step forward in a more prominent role but there’s no fantasy relevance here.

I do wonder what this means for Colin White. As long as Duchene is there, they have three centres to line up ahead of White. Do they move White to the wing, as they have in his brief stints before? Move him to the fourth line? Regardless of what happens, I wouldn’t expect much fantasy relevance here, at least until Duchene is shipped out.

With Karlsson gone, Ceci will be expected to step up and play a few more minutes a game. That is a boon to his already very stout peripherals. The additional minutes could legitimately see him threaten both 200 hits and 200 blocked shots. With two shots on goal per game, or thereabouts, that’ll play in real-time stats leagues even if he manages around 20 points. If you’re in a league with plus/minus, though, be ready for a severe plus/minus hit.

At the least, this should lock Chabot on the top PP unit, so that is the silver lining out of all this. Whether he survives without Karlsson is another question, though I think he should be fine production-wise because of the PP time.  


Who this helps:

Thomas Chabot


Who this hurts:

Colin White

J-G Pageau


To be honest, outside of Chabot getting top PP minutes, this doesn’t really help anyone for Ottawa in any fashion. The team is worse today than it was yesterday, which is all we care about for fantasy purposes. They’re banking on Norris and Balcers being roster players in the next couple years and those picks panning out. For fantasy, other than Chabot, this is a disaster for anyone with fantasy relevance on the Sens.