When Erik Karlsson returns to Ottawa, the returns from his exchange are starting to fill places on the list.

However, now that the former Senators captain returns to the arena Thursday with the San Jose Sharks for the first time since Oct. 27, 2019, the returns from his business outing are coming into better focus.

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Ottawa Senators jerseys with Erik Karlsson’s name on the back still abound within the Canadian Tire Center and in the city.


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The most talented player in franchise history, a two-time Norris Trophy winner, is not easily forgotten.

However, now that the former Senators captain returns to the arena Thursday with the San Jose Sharks for the first time since Oct. 27, 2019, the returns from his business outing are coming into better focus.

There is optimism for the future of the Senators in the air, a reward for all the patience of the fans and the anguish of the last few seasons after the changes of Karlsson, Mark Stone and Jean-Gabriel Pageau.

The goal now is to rebuild on the ice and in the seats, where 8,067 spectators in masks turned out for last Sunday’s matinee against the Dallas Stars.

The Senators haven’t made the playoffs since that trio helped lead the team to an overtime double goal of the 2017 Stanley Cup final, finishing 30, 31, 30 and 22 overall the past four seasons.


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We’ll get to the mixed bag of the Stone and Pageau deals in a moment, but the current roster of young senators is littered with the benefits of the Karlsson swap in September 2018.

If Sharks general manager Doug Wilson knew what we all know now, the players involved would have been different.

Former Sharks first-round pick Josh Norris was an outstanding rookie last season, becoming a front-line center with the Senators.

In an impressive recession, the Sharks tumbled to the bottom of the standings in 2019-20. That meant the 2020 first-round pick included in the trade eventually became Tim Stuetzle.

In the absence of Brady Tkachuk, Stuetzle started the year as the front-line left winger alongside Norris.

Chris Tierney, who opened the season with three goals in three games after mediocre training camp, was part of the original trade.


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When all the picks and side deals are taken into account, there is also considerable future promise, including 20-year-old goalkeeper Mads Sogaard, 19-year-old goalkeeper Leevi Merilainen and 19-year-old center Zack Ostapchuk.

Francis Perron, the other player to go to San José, spent two more seasons in the AHL and now plays in Sweden.

The twist is that Rudolphs Balcers, who originally came to Ottawa, was recaptured by the Waiver Sharks, and is now a second-line presence for San Jose.

The Sharks’ bet was about now, believing Karlsson could keep an aging team among the NHL’s elite. From 2004 to 2019, San Jose missed the playoffs only once, advanced to the Stanley Cup final in 2016, and appeared in the Western Conference final four times. Hence the eight-year, $ 92 million deal with Karlsson.


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Senators fans watched from a distance as Karlsson made a significant impact in season one, scoring two goals and 14 assists in 19 games in the 2019 playoffs, helping the Sharks to the Western Conference final, where they lost to the eventual Stanley Cup champion, St. Louis. .

However, since then, Karlsson has been plagued with injuries to the groin and thumb, a shadow of his old dominant and revolutionary self.

Over the past two playoffs, the Sharks have been like the Senators, from the outside looking in. However, unlike the Senators, they don’t have a closet full of prospects.

Despite everything, Karlsson remains confident.

“Obviously, I still think I’m one of the best players in the world,” he told San Jose reporters before the 4-3 season opener win over the Winnipeg Jets. “That’s where I’ve been for a long time, that’s where I want to go, that’s where I want to stay. I have claimed that time at the top and I want to stay at the top. For me, that will always be my expectation and I hope that will be the case for the rest of my career, not just this year ”.


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Karlsson entered Tuesday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens with an assist from the win over Winnipeg, where he played 20:50, a steep drop from when he used to play nearly half of the game.

Post-Ottawa success has been considerably different for Stone, who signed an eight-year, $ 76 million deal after being traded to Las Vegas in 2019.

While there was disappointment after Vegas was upset by Montreal in the Stanley Cup semifinal last season, the Golden Knights captain has played in 36 playoff games since leaving Ottawa, cementing his status as one of the two-way wingers. more complete of the NHL.

Health permitting, Stone will return to the Canadian Tire Center with Vegas on November 4.

On that front, the Senators’ business performance has been less optimistic than that of Karlsson.


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Defender Erik Brannstrom, a 2017 first-round pick from Las Vegas, has yet to establish himself in the NHL (he has scored two goals and 15 assists in 63 games) and is currently back in the American Hockey League with the Senators. of Belleville. To play consistently for Senators coach DJ Smith, he needs to find defensive consistency to match his offensive skills.

Yet there is intrigue in Egor Sokolov, 21, a potential NHL power forward who was selected with the second-round pick the Senators acquired from Las Vegas. He’s also in Belleville, hoping to find another step on his way to making the leap to the big leagues.

There is also future hope coming from 19-year-old center Ridly Greig and 19-year-old defender Tyler Kleven, who came to the organization courtesy of draft picks acquired to trade Pageau with the New York Islanders.


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So far, Pageau has been a canny investment for the islanders, who signed him to a six-year, $ 30 million deal after the February 2020 trade.

The versatile center, whose game packed with intangibles soars in the postseason, has already played 41 postseason games in two deep postseason runs with the Islanders.

He is scheduled to return to Ottawa on December 7.

On Thursday, however, the prominent visitor is Karlsson.

In a sign of the times and the new youth movement, his comeback will take a significant backseat in Tkachuk’s first game of the season after signing his seven-year contract.

It is the Tkachuk t-shirts that are now in fashion here.

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Anatomy of the trades

September 13, 2018: Erik Karlsson Trading


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To san josé

– Erik Karlsson

– Francis Perron

To Ottawa

– Josh Norris

– 2020 draft first-round pick, third overall (Tim Stuetzle)

– 2019 second-round pick, 44th overall. Transferred to Carolina, with the 83rd team for the 37th overall team (Mads Sogaard)

– 2021 second-round pick, 39th overall (Zack Ostapchuk)

– Chris Tierney

– Dylan DeMelo, since being traded to Winnipeg for the 71st pick in the 2020 draft (Leevi Merilainen)

– Rudolphs Balcers, since San Jose claimed waivers

February 25, 2019: Mark Stone Offer

To Las Vegas:

– Mark Stone

To Ottawa:

– Erik Brannstrom

– Oscar Lindberg

– General selection number 61 of 2020 (Egor Sokolov)

February 24, 2020: Trade Jean-Gabriel Pageau


– Jean-Gabriel Pageau

To Ottawa:

– General selection number 28 of 2020 (Ridly Greig)

– Election 59 of 2020. Transferred to Toronto, with the 64th selection, for the 44th selection (Tyler Kleven)



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