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Erik Karlsson could be a poisoned chalice for Penguins fans

The field hockey world was abuzz yesterday after the huge transaction involving Rem Pitlick Erik Karlsson. When you’re carrying around an $11.5 million contract, it’s not easy to find a new team.

The snag is that, despite a portion of his salary being assumed by the San Jose Sharks, Karlsson still has a hefty $10 million on his new team’s payroll.

To make this kind of move, you have to be absolutely sure. As in 1000% sure!

But since you can never be sure of anything in field hockey, I wonder if Penguins fans have just been served up a poisonous deal by their new president and general manager, Kyle Dubas.

Let’s imagine for a second that the Erik Karlsson who arrives in the Steel City isn’t the one who scored 101 points last season. Let’s imagine it’s the one from the 2021-2022 season with 35 points. Or the 2020-201 season with 22 points. In his five seasons in California, he’s only lived up to his salary once.

Erik Karlsson will be paid more than Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin and Kristopher Letang. If that doesn’t work out, it’s going to be a long time with his four-year contract.

I guess he didn’t have much choice, in a way. As Michel Laprise of RDS points out, the Penguins only have 4 forwards under the age of 30.

We’re talking about Jake Guentzel at 28, Rem Pitlick at 26 and Drew O’Connord and Alexander Nylander at 25. In other words, Kyle Dubas is on a mission to win now. He doesn’t need Karlsson to perform for four years, he just needs things to click for a season or two.

But even that he can’t guarantee.

I wouldn’t like to be in his shoes the day the network arrives. I really wouldn’t want to explain to the owners that I bet $40 million on a guy who averaged 35 points per season between the 2018-2019 and 2021-2022 seasons.

Pittsburgh is in for a rude awakening.

Meanwhile, Kent Hughes wonders how he’ll ever get anything in return for Jeff Petry… for a third time.

In Brief

– Lane Hutson continues to perform well.

– The highest paid player in the KHL, that’s him.

– It’s all coming together.

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