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Sharks' Karlsson talks trade deadline: 'I want to win'

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Though Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson reiterated that he and his family are happy in San Jose, he acknowledged that the potential of being moved to a contending team at the March 3 trade deadline is appealing.

"I will never sway from that: I want to win," he said during a recent appearance on the "Got Yer Back" podcast with Pierre LeBrun and Ryan Rishaug. "I think as you get older and you've been around for a longer time, you realize it's not as easy as it looks and you gotta hit it at the right time. Obviously if it does happen, then I hope that I do."

Karlsson, 32, is enjoying a resurgent campaign: He paces all skaters with 45 even-strength points and he tops all defensemen with 15 goals and 47 assists in 46 games while averaging over 25 minutes of ice time a night. If he keeps it up, the veteran can become the first rearguard to crack the 100-point mark since Brian Leetch in 1991-92.

His flashy numbers will garner interest from some teams bound for the postseason, but Karlsson carries a cap hit of $11.5 million through 2026-27, which is a hefty price tag. The ball is also firmly in Karlsson's court thanks to his no-movement clause, so he might not end up being traded at all.

If he stays put, Karlsson hopes the Sharks' road back to relevancy and competitiveness is a short one.

"We'll see where we're at, but I like the way it's going, I know that much," he said. "I know that the hires that they've made and the people that they've put in charge are doing a great job in moving in the right direction. ... I know that the future here is going to be really bright.

"I just hope that it's within my timeline. If it's not, that’s a different discussion and that's where we haven't really gotten yet, I don't think. It's also a tricky part because you never know; it could work out really fast or it could be a little bit of a longer thing. Sometimes that's a gamble you have to take."

The Swede isn't a stranger to being traded. After spending the first nine seasons of his career in Ottawa, the Senators sent him to the Sharks in 2018. Karlsson said he thinks he's more prepared for another potential move because of his experience.

"As long as you are somewhere where you believe in what they're doing and you're fully invested, I think that’s all you can ask for, is to have a legitimate chance and hope that it works out," Karlsson said. "So we'll see what happens for me.”

In November, Karlsson said he was "fully invested" in the Sharks as the rumor mill began to churn.

San Jose currently sits seventh in the Pacific Division with a record of 14-23-9.

Sharks' Karlsson talks trade deadline: 'I want to win'
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