Well, former Toronto Maple Leafs’ general manager (GM) Kyle Dubas pulled off a big one. Although there was news that the Pittsburgh Penguins were talking to the San Jose Sharks about pulling Erik Karlsson east from California, things seemed stalled.

Finally, today it happened. The Penguins orchestrated a complex blockbuster trade that brought them arguably the best defenseman in the NHL – Karlsson. To make it all happen, the trade also involved the Montreal Canadiens.

In short, it was perhaps the most significant deal of the offseason.

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The Trade’s Breakdown: Who Went Where?

The full details of the trade are as follows:

The Penguins Receive

  1. Erik Karlsson is the crown jewel of the trade. Karlsson won this season’s Norris Trophy and is regarded as one of the NHL’s top defensemen. He’s known for his strong skating, his offensive abilities, and his playmaking. He also brings a ton of experience and leadership to the Penguins’ blue line.
  2. Dillon Hamaliuk is a 22-year-old left-winger. He’ll add depth to the Penguins’ prospect pool. The young forward has displayed promise and could become a valuable asset in the future.
  3. Rem Pitlick is a 26-year-old center who’s played with the Canadiens for the past two seasons. He can provide secondary scoring and a skill set that brings versatility and depth to the Penguins’ forward group.
  4. San Jose’s 2026 Third-Round Pick. This future draft pick gives the Penguins additional resources to further strengthen their roster down the line.

Related: How Maple Leafs Address Lack Depth On Defence Is Confusing

The Sharks Receive

  1. Mikael Granlund is a skilled forward who can provide secondary scoring for the Sharks. He’s twice scored 20 goals with the Minnesota Wild, and his scoring touch and playmaking ability will enhance their forward lines.
  2. Mike Hoffman has been a regular 20-goal scorer since he entered the NHL. He’s older now, but still has a good shot and can score. Hoffman will help the Sharks’ power play and even-strength game. He adds depth to the Sharks’ forwards.
  3. Jan Rutta is a 33-year-old, right-shot defenseman. He is solid and provides reliability and experience to the Sharks’ blue line.
  4. Pittsburgh’s 2024 First-Round Pick. This first-round draft pick offers the Sharks an opportunity to add a high-calibre prospect to their organization.

The Canadiens Receive

  1. Jeff Petry is a seasoned defenseman with a well-rounded game. He comes home to the Canadiens, with whom he played for many seasons. He’ll strengthen the Canadiens’ blue line significantly. His defensive acumen and offensive contributions will be valuable assets to the team.
  2. Casey DeSmith is older but provides the Canadiens with a capable goalie to play with Sam Montembeault and Jake Allen. He’ll give the team security and competition in their goaltending ranks.
  3. Nathan Legare is a 22-year-old Montreal native who comes home to play with the Canadiens. He’s a promising young right-winger and he’ll add depth to the Canadiens’ forward group.
  4. Pittsburgh’s 2025 Second-Round Pick. This future second-round draft pick provides the Canadiens with future assets to address their needs in upcoming drafts.

The Bottom Line

The Penguins hope that bringing Karlsson to the team will be a game-changer that catapults them into the playoff hunt once again. On the face of the trade, it was a good one for the Penguins’ short-term future. Karlsson instantly elevates the Penguins’ defensive capabilities and solidifies their status as a top contender.

The Sharks and Canadiens also benefit from the trade; but, for them, it’s over the longer-term future. The downside for the Penguins is the loss of their draft picks. However, give it to Dubas for making things happen.

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