NHL free agency rumors: Sharks may be preparing to offer Erik Karlsson 8-year extension

The Sharks are committed to bringing back defenseman Erik Karlsson.

According to The Athletic, San Jose and the All-Star defenseman are continuing to work on a contract extension which would keep Karlsson with the team for a very long time.

The report states there is a belief the Sharks are willing to offer Karlsson a contract somewhere close to what Kings defenseman Drew Doughty got last summer.

That would be eight years and $88 million.

The Sharks are the only team that can offer Karlsson an eight-year deal, and they might be the only one willing to give him an offer in the $11 million range on average annual value.

Karlsson is coming off of offseason groin surgery and dealt with serious injuries in both 2013 and 2017.

Some teams could point to that as a reason not to give Karlsson a deal worth more than $10 million per year, so if the Sharks are willing to give him $11 million, that could be enough to keep him in San Jose.

The Sharks have until June 23 to talk exclusively to Karlsson as players are allowed to talk to all 31 teams on that day before being allowed to sign July 1.

Karlsson is coming off a year in which he scored three goals and added 42 assists, but he played just 53 games in the regular season as he dealt with the groin injury and missed the final game of the Western Conference finals while dealing with the same problem.

He remains one of the best offensive defensemen in the game, though, and having him and Brent Burns on the first and second lines, respectively, is a luxury very few NHL teams have.

It should also be noted that if the Sharks do give Karlsson this massive extension, it could hamper their efforts to bring back captain Joe Pavelski and even veteran Joe Thornton.

Pavelski scored 38 goals last season, which was just three less than his career high of 41. Losing him would be a big blow, but Karlsson’s departure would be difficult to deal with, as well.

Thornton is likely to come back on a one-year deal if he does return. He has long said he wants to finish his career in San Jose, but his future is very contingent upon what the Sharks give their other free agents.