Picture of Erik Karlsson. He will not be traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson will not be traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. His salary cap hit is just too high.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have dominated the NHL trade rumors mill this offseason. Leaf fans have been wondering what the team will do with the core four. Will William Nylander be traded? Could Mitch Marner be moved? Will the core four stay together?

Erik Karlsson is the one non-Leaf player that has been mentioned a plethora of times since the 2023 NHL entry draft. A lot of NHL fans are wondering if his contract is tradable and if it is, where will he end up?

How could the Toronto Maple Leafs land Erik Karlsson?

TSN NHL Insider Chris Johnston has reported that Erik Karlsson has spoken with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Seattle Kraken, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Carolina Hurricanes.

The Maple Leafs are in serious salary cap trouble and must shed salary before even thinking about making a trade for Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Erik Karlsson.

NHL trade rumors have the Sharks retaining 50% of Karlsson’s contract, with William Nylander going to San Jose as a start. The Leafs would also have to make sure goalie Matt Murray goes to LTIR with Jake Muzzin.

Potential Toronto Maple Leafs lineup with Erik Karlsson at 50% retained salary


First Line
Tyler Bertuzzi ($5,500,000) – Auston Matthews ($11,640,250) – Mitchell Marner ($10,903,000)

Second Line
Max Domi ($3,000,000) – John Tavares ($11,000,000) – Matthew Knies ($925,000)

Third Line
Calle Järnkrok ($2,100,000) – David Kämpf ($2,400,000) – Sam Lafferty ($1,150,000)

Fourth Line
Dylan Gambrell ($775,000) – Pontus Holmberg ($800,000) – Ryan Reaves ($1,350,000)


1st pairing
Erik Karlsson ($5,750,000 at 50% retained) – John Klingberg ($4,150,000)
2nd pairing
Morgan Rielly ($7,500,000) – TJ Brodie ($5,000,000)
3rd pairing
Jake McCabe ($2,000,000) – Timothy Liljegren ($1,400,000)

Extra – Mark Giordano ($800,000)

Press box – Conor Timmins ($1,100,000)

Ilya Samsonov ($3,550,000)
Joseph Woll ($766,667)

This potential lineup above meets the quota of 22 roster spots filled but still puts the Toronto Maple Leafs $856,584 over the salary cap.

The hypothetical Leafs lineup is not realistic as there is no way the San Jose Sharks will retain $23 million in salary. The most likely outcome is Erik Karlsson will be a San Jose Shark when the 2023-24 NHL season starts in October.

It will still be interesting to watch what the Leafs do with the Auston Matthews and William Nylander contracts as this offseason chugs along.

Toronto Maple Leafs fans want Erik Karlsson on the team

Just trade William Nylander to San Jose for Erik Karlsson with salary retained. We all want to see it.

I would love Karlsson in Toronto, I just do not see how his salary will work?

I know Karlsson wants to win a Staney Cup. But with his salary cap hit, he is stuck in San Jose. He will not be on Toronto, Pittsburgh, Seattle and et al.

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