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Penguins’ Erik Karlsson Shoots Down Trade Rumors



Erik Karlsson

Interesting week for Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Erik Karlsson. He is playing against both his former teams, Ottawa and San Jose, in a three-day span.

The game against the Senators was on the road, a 2-1 overtime loss for the Penguins. That prompted some media members in Canada’s capital city to speculate that perhaps Karlsson might make his way back to the Senators, who drafted him 15th overall in 2008.

When that was brought up to Karlsson after Thursday’s morning skate, he grinned.

“Yeah, that’s Canada for you,” Karlsson said. “I played there for a long time so I kind of know how that game works. They’ve got a lot of things to talk about every day to (fill) a lot of air time, but they only have a few things to actually discuss.

“They like to make up these what-if scenarios. That’s just the way it is, and it’s not something that I really look into or worry too much about.”

Karlsson, of course, has a full no-movement clause in his contract that contains three more seasons, with the Penguins’ share of that $10 million a season as part of the blockbuster trade they worked out last summer with San Jose.

The defending and three-time Norris Trophy winner as the NHL’s top defenseman hasn’t been as gangbusters as might have been expected. After putting up 101 points last season, he has 38 points in 64 going into Thursday’s game against the Sharks.

Things aren’t going so well for the Penguins in Karlsson’s first season with them. Making the playoffs is nearly off the table at this point.

Still, Karlsson, 33, has no regrets about being with the Penguins.

“Yeah. I think I’ve been welcomed great here,” he said. “It obviously hasn’t gone the way that we expected, but it’s a great group of guys in here and a fantastic organization. I’ve enjoyed my time so far, and I’m looking forward to the future as well.”

The Penguins biggest problem lately during a four-game losing streak and even before is offense.

Karlsson pointed to that as a confidence problem.

“The wind got taken out of us a little bit. We’re having trouble right now.  I think executing toward the end of things,” he said. “And confidence comes in a lot with that. It’s not very high right now for a lot of us. That’s something that as a player you go through individually throughout a season every year. It’s hard when everybody kind of goes through it at the same time.

“We’ve just got to find a way to enjoy the game again, not worry too much about what’s going to happen and what’s not going to happen and just play and try and create that confidence for ourselves again. If we enjoy this game — which we should; we’re very privileged to be here – if we just get that back, I think the rest is going to fall.”