Dynamic defenseman Erik Karlsson made the unrestricted free agent pool far less intriguing when he agreed to an eight-year contract extension to stay with the San Jose Sharks.
Columbus forward Artemi Panarin will now be the top unrestricted free agent on July 1.
The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun is reporting that the deal averages more than $11 million per season, making him the NHL’s highest-paid defenseman. Last summer, the Kings agreed to give defenseman Drew Doughty $88 million over eight seasons.
With 45 points in 53 games last season, Karlsson is generally regarded as the NHL’s most exciting puck-carrying defenseman. With Karlsson and Brent Burns on the blue line, the Sharks have one of the NHL’s premier defenses…