Let's start with Ottawa's spectacular nosedive from conference finalists to fire sales reconstructions, let's start with this fundamental, terrible fact that crystallized Thursday afternoon: Two of the last five Norris Trophy winners now live on the San Jose Shark Blue Line, a device that can soon release several world-class, right-wing world-not to mention appropriate Pirates of the Caribbean extras-upwards of 50 total minutes each night.
What does everything mean? Nothing particularly good for other Western Conference Challenges, which must be exiled as San José Secretary General Doug Wilson whiffed on other splashy offseason overtures (Ryan Reilly, John Tavares) before landing a future Hall of Famer on the threshold of the training camp. There was a steep cost in quantity: defenseman Dylan DeMelo, center Chris Tierney, prospects Rudolf Balcers and Josh Norris, a first-round, a second rider and two conditional choices. In terms of quality? Well, shark Erik Karlsson now uses. And the senators do not.
The four top patrons around Nashville can oppose two-way hockey skills, but how many other teams can claim the skill in San Jose's back-end? Certainly, no more offensive firepower than San Jose now. Over five full seasons since the 201
Karlsson – 3rd (83) 1st (272), 1st (2), 1st (2), 2nd (211).
As Burns tweeted when the trade news broke: "Unreal! Can not wait to see that sauce personally!"
Currently, the sauce said only to rent. During the last season of his $ 6.5 million contract, 28-year-old Karlsson would safely maintain Tavares levels of free agency if he hit the open market next summer. Different picking conditions behind the store will help mitigate the San Jose blow if he would go, but it is very easy to imagine that Karlsson is also living. With Burns, specialist Marc-Edouard Vlasic, goalkeeper Martin Jones and prime-age forward Logan Couture, Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl all closed down until 2021-22. The Stanley Cup window in the Bay Area is still very open.
Like signing Tavares, an already strong Maple Leaf group in the title's favorite area, Karlsson had to put San Jose in lock with Nashville and Winnipeg at the West Conference. (Make sure that the four-time Norris Trophy finalist did not join the Pacific Division rival Vegas was a bonus byproduct for Wilson as well.) However, although Karlsson decides to sign in the long run even though his surgically repaired left ankle brings unexpected problems Sharks made the unintended decision that Wilson summarized in a statement like this: "It is extremely rare for players of this caliber to be available."
Who takes us to the team that made the caliber player available for the first time. Cringeworthy as it was the after dark internal interview between veteran Mark Borowiecki and owner Eugene Melnyk released during Monday Night Football clearly announced the blueprints for a detonation plan. Maybe Balcers, 21 and Norris, 19, will blossom into useful NHL pieces. Perhaps these future draft picks will flare out. Deputy General Manager Pierre Dorion is not ready to acquire soon, whether he turns out to be outgoing contracts (Matt Duchene, Mark Stone) or to find Bobby Ryan buyers. And maybe senators will really discover relevance at the end of this painful road. But it was certainly hard to see Karlsson fighting tears at his farewell press conference and regret "a very emotional and sad day" and calling Ottawa "my eternal home" and no wonder how nine elite seasons could end like this.
"I do not think I ever imagined in my wildest imagination to leave this place, but unfortunately we are here under these circumstances," Karlsson said on Thursday, responding to a question from TSN about whether he had made an extension bid from The senators in July. (His agent, Craig Oster, did not return a voicemail from SI who requested comments.) The reports did not arrive long Karlsson's wife Melinda had filed a protection decision against the then friend Mike Hoffman's fiancé in Ottawa, claiming harassment and cyberbullying. The senators then handed Hoffman to San Jose, who then turned him to Florida.
"I think they made it very clear what direction they went with," Karlsson later said. "Unfortunately, I was not part of it."  Of course, the focus is on such bummers to ignore more entertaining curiosities awaiting Karlsson's new home. Like how coach Pete DeBoer is going to share Ice Age between Bu rns and Karlsson on the Sharks power play. Or if Vlasic continues to skate with longtime partner Justin Braun and make sure that San Jose will have either him, Burns or Karlsson on the ice for every moment of even strength. Or if Burns and Karlsson can be the first set of blue line teammates with 20 goals since Washington's Sylvain Cote, Kevin Hatcher and Al Iafrate in 92-93.
Now it's a lovely preseason sauce.