Before Mike Grier was a first-year general manager for the San Jose Sharks or a special adviser to the GM with the New York Rangers, he was a coach.

Grier coached at several levels. One of the players he’d show clips of to his players was two-time Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson. Now Grier is Karlsson’s boss, and what happens next with his star defenseman could have a dramatic impact on the franchise.

Karlsson is having a generational season, leading the NHL in even-strength points and all defensemen in goals and points. He could be the first defenseman to reach 100 points in three decades.

“I think this is who Erik is,” Grier said. “I think he’s had some injury issues and hasn’t played up to his standard, but I think the frame of mind that he’s in and the health he’s had, I really believe this is who he is as a player.”

Though Karlsson is a Norris contender again, the Sharks are mired near the bottom of the standings for the fourth straight season. The path back to playoff and Stanley Cup contention could include Grier parting ways with Karlsson.

It wouldn’t be an easy transaction to complete. Karlsson has a full no-movement clause in his contract, so he’d have to approve any trade. He is also 32 years old with four years after this one on a contract that counts $11.5 million against the salary cap.

“There is interest in him,” Grier said. “There’s some teams who have reached out about him. I think it’s only natural for teams to kick the tires, and it’s my job to listen to all the offers and see what I think is best for the organization short term and long term.”

Karlsson has said several times this season that he wants to win. That is his top priority. The actual dollars left on Karlsson’s contract after this season are $39 million, slightly less than the $46 million in cap charges.