Karlsson excited to join Penguins for opportunity to contend for Cup

Karlsson excited to join Penguins for opportunity to contend for Cup

Erik Karlsson has one clear goal in mind following a trade to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday: win the Stanley Cup.

The three-time Norris Trophy winner has accomplished more than most in his 14-year NHL career, but he’s still chasing that elusive Stanley Cup ring.

Karlsson, whose contract contains a no-movement clause, said he didn’t give the San Jose Sharks a list of preferred destinations – he just wanted to go to a contender. When Pittsburgh got involved, he became interested.

“I was very excited about the opportunity to go somewhere I could be on a team where we’re contending,” he said Wednesday during his introductory press conference. “It was a lot of ups and downs and hard to get a grasp of where things were at. It was exciting when I heard they were interested. I’m happy it worked out in the end.”

At 33 years old, Karlsson is the youngest member of Pittsburgh’s new core four, joining Sidney Crosby (36), Evgeni Malkin (37), and Kris Letang (36). Even though the Pens missed the playoffs last season, Karlsson still believes the group has what it takes to go on another deep run.

“You have a lot of strong players that have been here for a long time with extreme success,” Karlsson said. “I am excited to work alongside players like that, learn from them. … We’re all trying to do the same thing – win hockey games and win the Cup.”

Karlsson has experienced Pittsburgh’s playoff prowess first hand. During his nine years with the Ottawa Senators, Karlsson lost to the Penguins on three separate occasions in the postseason, including the 2017 Eastern Conference Final when Pittsburgh went on to win it all.

“I’ve played against Pittsburgh many times, and lost to them a few times when they went on to win the ultimate prize,” he said. “That’s something they know how to do here, and the players that they’ve had here for a long time are still really good players.”

If the Penguins can qualify for the postseason and make some noise in the spring, Karlsson will undoubtedly play a key role. He’s coming off a historic campaign that saw him become the sixth defenseman in history to record 100 points in a single season, and he did so despite playing on the NHL’s fourth-worst team.

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