Digging Deeper: Welcome to the Shark Tank Karlsson

By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the Erik Karlsson trade. Ottawa Senator fans are not happy with the return for their captain. Yes, they got a lot of assets, but none of the players they received scream superstar level talent. For now we will wait and see and maybe down the road the draft picks will become impact players.

From a fantasy perspective, there are two options. The first one is that the Sharks decide to load up their stars on their top power-play unit. It’s been done before, but that will be exciting for everyone. The second option is to follow the Nashville Predators’ mold to become P.K. Subban and Roman Josi. They eat away at each other’s point totals a little bit and are on separate power-plays. Last year, San Jose ranked 16th with the man advantage and this is how the units looked in the last game.

Unit 1: Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, Kevin Labanc, Joe Pavelski, and Brent Burns

Unit 2: Mikkel Boedker, Evander Kane, Timo Meier, Chris Tierney, and Dylan DeMelo

A healthy Thornton and Karlsson replace Tierney, DeMelo, and Boedker. Let’s see what the ripple effect looks like.

Having Karlsson benefits the whole team during five-on-five play. For the power-play, it benefits everyone on the loaded unit. Who gets kicked off? Couture? Thornton?

Unit 1: Logan Couture, Evander Kane, Joe Pavelski, Erik Karlsson, and Brent Burns

Unit 2: Joe Thornton, Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Joonas Donskoi, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Thornton’s amazing vision and playmaking abilities can vault him to the top unit over Couture. Here’s what it looks like when they split everyone up.

Unit 1: Joe Thornton, Evander Kane, Joe Pavelski, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Brent Burns

Unit 2: Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, Joonas Donskoi, and Erik Karlsson

It does not benefit the superstars if they split the usage. I put Thornton and Couture with their five-on-five linemates. Last season, Burns played 73.5% of the Sharks power-play while Karlsson played 67% for the Senators. Can both players be productive with a 50/50 split? If they split them up, we could be looking at a Toronto Maple Leafs situation with two really good units. They had the second best power-play in the NHL, so I’m sure Peter DeBoer and his staff will be looking at all these options.

San Jose has always seemed like they should score more than they do with the man advantage. Adding Erik Karlsson is an amazing move that will improve their five-on-five play and special teams. It does make me wonder if people will take Victor Hedman over these guys. Hopefully more news will emerge before you have to draft.

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