The Erik Karlsson trade saga is finally over now that the Norris Trophy winner is a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Now, the 33-year-old blueliner can look forward to what he and the Penguins can accomplish this upcoming season.
Karlsson joins the Penguins after four years with the San Jose Sharks. Toward the end of his Sharks tenure, the future Hall of Fame blueliner never had the chance to compete for the Stanley Cup. In Pittsburgh, the 33-year-old has his eyes on hockey's biggest prize.
“It's always been the ultimate drive,” Karlsson said on Wednesday, via NHL.com. “I think, for myself, I like to play the important games and I like to be on successful teams, having success collectively as a group.”
Karlsson has come close to the Stanley Cup on a few occasions. He made the Western Conference Final with San Jose in 2019. However, the team fell to the eventual champion St. Louis Blues. And in 2017, he made the Eastern Conference Final with the Ottawa Senators.
Perhaps ironically, that Senators team saw their run end at the hands of the Penguins. Pittsburgh went on to defeat the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Final that year. Their victory completed the NHL's first successful Stanley Cup championship defense since the Detroit Red Wings of the late 1990s.
Karlsson is certainly no stranger to the Penguins and how they play. Pittsburgh has their eyes on making one last run with Sidney Crosby and the rest of their core. For Karlsson, this is the place to be.
“I was very excited about the opportunity to have a chance to go somewhere where I could be on a team that is contending,” Erik Karlsson said. “It was exciting when I heard that [the Penguins] were interested. So I'm happy that it worked out in the end here.”