Erik Karlsson tacitly forced his way out of Ottawa and he may be rethinking the end of his tenure with the club.
Karlsson, who was traded with the San Jose Sharks in September 2018, following rampant speculation about his desire to play elsewhere, admitted this isn't what he had in mind upon heading to sunny California.
"Obviously, I did not sign here to go through a rebuild or go through what I did for 10 years in Ottawa," Karlsson said Saturday via NHL.com's David Satriano. "But it is what it is. I think that we need to find a way to build with a core group that we have here and figure out a way how to be competitive here in the upcoming years."
San Jose has slumped to a 11-11-3 mark thus far, following up on a 2019-20 campaign where it missed the playoffs. It wasn't always this bad, of course. During Karlsson's first year with the Sharks, the team advanced to the Western Conference finals, where they were defeated by the eventual Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues.
Karlsson bleakly assessed the declining state of the franchise.
"I mean, I think after the year we had last year, I think it was pretty, pretty clear that we were not going to be the team that we were maybe the first year that I got here," Karlsson said. "You know that doesn't take rocket science to figure out."
There is a degree of truth to what Karlsson's saying, as the Sharks appear headed for a long, protracted rebuild after this season comes to an end. Karlsson essentially joined the Sharks by his own volition, however, and committed to the organization with an eight-year, $92 million contract in June 2019. If anyone is going to define this iteration of the Sharks, it may very well be Karlsson.
In any event, there may be room for optimism as the Sharks are currently on a three-game winning streak. Perhaps it will help smooth over any sour feelings Karlsson currently holds towards the franchise.
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