Penguins land Erik Karlsson making things tougher for Rangers

The New York Rangers will have their hands full with an improved Pittsburgh Penguins squad in an already stacked Metropolitan Division.

On Sunday, the Penguins completed a three-way deal with the San Jose Sharks and the Montreal Canadiens to land all-star defenseman Erik Karlsson. In exchange, they also get Rem Pitlick, Dillon Hamaliuk, and a 2026 third-rounder for Mikael Granlund, Jan Rutta, Mike Hoffman (via Montreal), and Pittsburgh’s 2024 first-round pick (top 10 protected) to San Jose. Montreal brings back Jeff Petry, and adds Casey DeSmith, Nathan Legare, and Pittsburgh’s 2025 second-round pick.

Per the Penguins press release, San Jose is retaining $1.5 million of Karlsson’s salary. Frank Seravalli, notes the Penguins are retaining 25% of Petry’s salary.

Karlsson, 33, won his third Norris Trophy last season thanks to a 101 point campaign in 82 games.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report a deal was in the works.

For more: Check out The Daily Goal Horn.

Rangers have their hands full with Erik Karlsson in the Metro

new york rangers
Oct 20, 2022; New York, New York, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal in overtime against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

If it wasn’t already hard enough with the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils in the division, the Penguins adding Karlsson only means things just got tougher for the Blueshirts.

While the New York Islanders didn’t do much to improve this offseason, they’ll most certainly be sticking around the wild card picture along with the Washington Capitals. Even the Columbus Blue Jackets will be a challenge this season with their additions. Thankfully the Philadelphia Flyers are rebuilding to give the Rangers some respite, but that means everyone else gets it too.

A quick look at the 2023-24 schedule shows the Rangers and Penguins will only be facing off three times instead of four.

  • 11/22/23 @ Pittsburgh
  • 3/16/24 @ Pittsburgh
  • 4/2/24 @ New York

The Penguins hold the upper hand with two games on their home-ice, but the key will be winning those late contests at the end of the season.

At the end of the day, the Metro was always going to be a battle and this certainly makes things more interesting. I previously had the Penguins as a leading candidate for a wild card spot. However, they are clearly now in contention for one of the three guaranteed spots that go to the first, second, and third place finishers in the division.

As far as the Rangers go, they are still in upper echelon of the Metro, but a good start to the year just became that more imperative.