With less than two months remaining until the NHL’s March 3 trade deadline, we’re bringing you one deadline-focused story each day at Daily Faceoff.

Today we’re going to focus on San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson, who was No. 10 on our latest Trade Targets board last week.


2023 Trade Deadline Countdown: 50 Days


  • Defenseman, San Jose Sharks
  • Shoots: Right
  • Age: 32
  • Height: 6’0″ | Weight: 190 lbs.
  • Cap Hit: $11.5 million AAV
  • Term: 4 seasons remaining
  • Trade Clauses: Full ‘no-trade,’ full ‘no-move’ clauses
  • Stats: 23 GP, 13 goals, 43 assists, 56 points, 25:15 avg TOI
  • Career: 14th season (nine in Ottawa), 881 GP, 166 goals, 716 points, 25:28 avg TOI

Archetype and Ideal Role

Puck Mover, Top Pair

Karlsson was the No. 16 ranked Puck-Moving Defenseman in Daily Faceoff’s Archetype Ranking series prior to the season. Ideally, Karlsson plays in a featured offensive role at both even-strength and on the power play, and he is partnered with a reliable, stay-at-home defenseman who is an above average defender.


Scouting Report

After two Norris Trophies and 14 seasons, there are no secrets about Karlsson and his game. Karlsson is one of the NHL’s elite offensive defensemen of all-time. Since joining the Sharks in 2018, he ranks 13th among defensemen in total points (198) and 10th in points per 60 minutes (1.93). Perhaps most impressively, only 66 of Karlsson’s 198 points in that span came on the power play, meaning the majority of his damage was done at even-strength.

There are many reasons why Karlsson is elite. His offensive hockey sense is off the charts. He not only has the ability to recognize dangerous space moving into the zone, but he can get there to be a legitimate option without the puck. With the puck, he can create space because he is so elusive. His lateral mobility baits defenders into poor positions, where he can slip by and give himself and teammates better looks.

His hands, coupled with his sense and timing, allow him to quickly change direction with the puck. They also contribute to his quick, hard and accurate shot – which makes him a threat from distance. He is also deceptive, using his shot as a threat to open lanes to then distribute.