Boston Bruins

May 4, 2019; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) reviews the scoreboard against the Colorado Avalanche during the first period in game five of the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

By Ty Anderson,

An injury-plagued year did not stop defenseman Erik Karlsson from getting paid, and paid big, as Karlsson and the Sharks agreed to an eight-year, $92 million contract extension on Monday.

A deal that will keep Karlsson in San Jose through his mid-30s and into 2027, the payday makes Karlsson the league’s third-highest paid skater for the 2019-20 season, trailing just Connor McDavid’s $12.5 million (death sentence) in Edmonton and Auston Matthews’ $11.634 million cap hit with the Maple Leafs. Boy, oh boy, is that a lot of cake.

The contract is a whopper for the Sharks, too, as it’s left them with just $12.5 million to re-sign RFAs Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc, as well as unrestricted free agents Joe Pavelski, Gustav Nyquist, Joonas Donskoi, and Joe Thornton. In other words, the Sharks are about to go through a cap crunch (a slight one at the very least) to remain competitive with Karlsson in town.

But it’s all great news for the Bruins.

Now, the Bruins were never going to be in the Karlsson Sweeps, of course, but some of their top rivals were.

It’s no secret that the 29-year-old Karlsson had long been connected to the Tampa Bay Lightning. A close friend of Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, Karlsson was on the Lightning’s radar last offseason when the Senators first made him available for trade, and there’s no doubt that they would have pulled off a trade had they been able to make the financials of a deal work. Now, with a full summer to play with in terms of moving money around, there’s no doubt that the Lightning could have been poised to land the ultra-talented puck-mover and form the one-two Swedish punch on their backend.

Imagining the addition of Karlsson, who has totaled the 18th-most points among NHL skaters since 2011 (as a defenseman!), to a Lightning core that tied an NHL record for single-season wins a year ago was rightfully terrifying.

It was also reported that Karlsson’s wife, Melinda Karlsson, was growing homesick and that she (and Erik) had hope of a potential move back to Ottawa or even Montreal if Karlsson tested free agency. While the idea of the Senators spending money remains incredibly hilarious, the Canadiens had the dough to pull off a big move, with a projected $11 million in cap space and without a truly hard decision in their RFA group this summer.

Karlsson was expected to attract interest from outside of just the Atlantic, too, with teams like the Islanders and Rangers both expected to make serious pushes for No. 65 if he entered free agency.

But thanks to $92 million in The Bay, the B’s (and rest of the East) does not have to worry about Karlsson’s slick dishes returning.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for He has also been a voting member of the Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.