Looking at the spectacular fall of the Ottawa senators from the conference finalists to the fire department accident analysts, we begin with this basic, frightening fact that crystallized on Thursday afternoon: Two of the last five Norris trophy winners now live on the blue line of San Jose Shark's unit, which will soon be able to unleash several world-class defenders – not to mention suitable ones Pirates of the Caribbean Extras-for more than 50 minutes in total every night.

What does that mean? Nothing particularly good for other Western Conference attendees who must have exhaled when San Jose CEO Doug Wilson hit other scant offseason overtures (Ryan O'Reilly, John Tavares) and on the eve of the training camp a future Hall of Fame landed. It was a hefty prize in quantity: Defender Dylan DeMelo, Center Chris Tierney, the prospects of Rudolf Balcer and Josh Norris, a first-rounder, a second-rounder and two conditional picks. How for quality? Well, the sharks now employ Erik Karlsson. And the senators are not.

The four best defenders patrolling the Nashville area might argue that there are double hockey skills, but how many other teams can claim the skills of San Joses backend? Of course, no one has more offensive firepower than San Jose now. Over five full seasons since the 2012-13 lockout, here are like Karlsson and Brent Burns among their equal positions in goals, assists, points, power play points and goal shots:

Karlsson – 3. (83), 1. (272), 1. (355), 1. (132), 2. (1.211).

Burns – 1. (107), 2. (219), 2. (326), 3. (117), 1. (1.495).

How Burns tweeted when the news broke: "Unreal, I can not wait to see this sauce in person!"

At least this sauce is only for rent. The 28-year-old Karlsson, who would enter the final season of his $ 6.5-million contract, would certainly maintain Taures levels of free agency advertising when he goes to the open market next summer. Various picking conditions that have flowed into the deal will ease the blow for San Jose should he leave, but it's terribly easy to imagine Karlsson would stay too. With Burns, shut-down specialist Marc-Edouard Vlasic, goalie Martin Jones, and prime-age strikers Logan Couture, Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl suspended through 2021-22, the Stanley Cup window in the Bay Area remains open.

Much like Tavares' commitment to catapult an already strong Maple Leafs squad into title favorite territory, the acquisition of Karlsson San Jose was set to move in tandem with Nashville and Winnipeg via the Western Conference. (Ensuring that the four-time Norris Trophy finalist did not join the rival to the Pacific Division was an additional by-product to Wilson.) But even if Karlsson decides against long-term signing, even if his surgically repaired left ankle raises unexpected problems, Sharks hit the decision that Wilson had summarized in a statement like this: "It is extremely rare for players of this caliber to become available."

This brings us to the team that has made this caliber available to gamers at all. Cringeworthy as it was, the after-dark, in-house interview between veteran Mark Borowiecki and owner Eugene Melnyk What fell during the Monday Night Football clearly announced the plans for a detonation plan. Perhaps Balcers, 21, and Norris, 19, will flourish into useful NHL plays. Maybe these future draft picks will work out. Sure, General Manager Pierre Dorion is not ready to buy soon, either through expiring deals (Matt Duchene, Mark Stone) or looking for buyers for bloated contracts (Bobby Ryan). And perhaps the senators will actually find relevance at the end of this painful journey. But it was certainly difficult to see how Karlsson struggled with tears at his farewell press conference. He lamented "a very emotional and sad day" and called Ottawa "my forever home" and was not surprised how nine elite seasons could end like this.

"I do not think I ever thought in my wildest imagination that I would leave this place, but unfortunately we are here under these circumstances," Karlsson said Thursday, responding to a question from TSN if he had declined an extension offer by the Senators in July. (His agent, Craig Oster, did not give SI a mailbox asking for a comment.) These reports did not appear long. Karlsson's wife Melinda had filed a protective order against Ottawa fiancé Mike Hoffman's fiance for harassment and cyberbullying; Later, Senators exchanged Hoffman for San Jose, who then threw him to Florida.

"I think they made it very clear which way they went," Karlsson later said. "Unfortunately, I was not there."

Of course, one focuses on such strollers to ignore entertaining curiosities waiting in Karlsson's new home. Just as coach Pete DeBoer will distribute the ice age between Burns and Karlsson on the Sharks' power game. Or whether Vlasic continues to skate with his longtime partner Justin Braun and ensures that San Jose will have either him, Burns or Karlsson for any moment of even strength on the ice. Or when Burns and Karlsson become the first group of Blue Line teammates with 20 hits per capita since Washington Sylvain Cote, Kevin Hatcher and Al Iafrate & # 39; 92 -93.

Well, that's a delicious preseason sauce.



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