Toronto Maple Leafs Avoid Salary Cap Disaster with Karlsson

Erik Karlsson #65 of the San Jose Sharks skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Erik Karlsson #65 of the San Jose Sharks skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs will not be getting Erik Karlsson.

Erik Karlsson is officially a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. At 33 years old and with four more seasons left on his deal, it would have been a bad idea to add him to the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup.

The Leafs were believed to be one of the teams interested in Karlsson. Karlsson to Toronto rumours intensified when GM Brad Treliving said he would like to add to the team’s defense. Those rumours can now be laid to rest.

Pittsburgh acquires Karlsson through a three-team trade with the San Jose Sharks and Montreal Canadiens. Here is a look at the complete trade details.

To Pittsburgh: Erik Karlsson, SJS 2026 3rd Rd Pick, Dillon Hamaliuk, Rem Pitlick
To San Jose: PIT 2024 1st Rd Pick, Mikael Granlund, Mike Hoffman, Jan Rutta
To Montreal: Jeff Petry, Casey DeSmith, Nathan Legare, PIT 2025 2nd Rd Pick

The Sharks retain 13.04% on Karlsson’s $11.5 million hit for the next four years. Pittsburgh is retaining 25% of Petry’s $6.25 million hit for the next two years. (

Toronto Maple Leafs Avoid Salary Cap Disaster

Karlsson’s salary cap hit on Pittsburgh will be $10 million for the next four seasons. There is no way the Leafs should have added a contract like that. As good as Karlsson was last season and won the Norris Trophy for best defenseman, his price tag is too high. (Salary cap info from

Yes, he did register 101 points last season, but it’s just the second time in his 14-year career that he has scored more than 80 points. His overall track record indicates that last season could be a rare high for him. Could you imagine the uproar from Toronto Maple Leafs fans if Treliving traded for Karlsson and his stats fizzled? It would be total insanity. (Stats from

It’s only fitting that its former Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas being the one to acquire Karlsson. His new team now has a core four that are all older than John Tavares. The Penguins, however, are a veteran team looking for one last run so getting Karlsson is a sensible move for them, but the situation with the Leafs is complete different and it wouldn’t have worked here.

Next. Leafs Missed Out on Karlsson. dark

Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving is better off trying to acquire a younger and less expensive defenseman. Erik Karlsson was never a good fit due to his age and injury history.