An emotional Erik Karlsson faced the media during an impromptu press conference, to thank the city of Ottawa and the Senators organization for the nine years he spent there. Noting on multiple occasions that he never thought he'd ever leave the Senators, Karlsson made a spontaneous speech and answered questions on his future.
"I never in my wildest imagination every thought that I would leave this place, but unfortunately we're here under these circumstances."
"I never wanted to leave this place, but I respect their decision."
"They made it very clear with what direction they're going in - and I wasn't part of that."
While he did not mention if he would have eventually agreed to a contract extension with the Sens, he did note that he would have fulfilled the last year of his contract in Ottawa. This summer, the Senators had offered Karlsson an eight-year extension that sources say was north of $80 million over its lifetime. He will make $6.5 million this season. He has just one year remaining on his contract and is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency on July 1. The Senators are now entering a full rebuilding phase, Karlsson has accepted that he is not part of the future.
"I have to leave this beautiful place..."
"Ottawa will be my forever home. I will always considered Ottawa my home, even if I don't play for the organization."
Karlsson was traded to the San Jose Sharks earlier this afternoon along with Francis Perron. In return, the Senators receive forward Chris Tierney, defenseman Dylan DeMelo, prospects Josh Norris and Rudolfs Balcers, a 2020 first-round pick, a 2019 second-round pick, and two conditional picks, per Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun.
"I'm going to go to an extremely good team... I'm excited about that, as well. But as of right now, I'm just trying to wrap my mind around having to leave this wonderful place."
The poor guy appears heartbroken about leaving his teammates, and especially the community. He used the word unfortunate more than a dozen times in his emotional press conference. He also said he was more than shocked and surprised by the transaction.
In the meantime, Karlsson hopes to focus on the future with the Sharks, however, he will explore an extension after the fact. The priority was he and his wife, an Ottawa local, get acclimated to new city and if they see a long-term home, they'll sign.
However, one thing is clear: Karlsson's forever home is Ottawa.