Karlsson scored nine goals (his lowest full-season total) and registered 53 assists for 62 points in 71 games in 2017-18.
"It's one of those deals when you're dealing with a trade at this level, you want to be on the ground, and be there in person in case anything needs to be addressed", Wilson said from Ottawa in a phone interview Thursday on The Happy Hour. And given what Ottawa's original asks for Karlsson were, and what some of the rumored-to-be interested teams offered, it's a massive disappointment for the Sens. But Wilson stayed in touch with the Senators, and said the teams reached a deal because Ottawa was looking to get something done quickly. A two-time Norris Trophy victor as the NHL's top blueliner, he has 126 goals and 518 points in 627 games. Many interpreted it as a sign that Karlsson's days in Ottawa were numbered. We're in the mode of trying to win right now, and I think that's something that's attractive to him. However, the Sharks aren't the only team inquiring with the Senators for Karlsson.
"I don't comment on contract negotiations, but I will say that we've had extensive conversations with his agents, and we feel extremely comfortable making this deal today with where we're sitting", Wilson said. "We know we're in a rebuild now and we know this is the best thing in the plan and the rebuild for us to have success In the rebuild".
Karlsson's breakout season came in 2011-12 when he had 78 points (19 goals, 59 assists), while averaging 25:19 of ice time, but his performance in the 2017 playoffs stands out.
An emotional Karlsson said even though there had been no shortage of speculation, the deal still caught him off guard. There were thousands of empty seats for some games last season, and the organization figures to face a similar challenge in 2018-19. "I've still got to wrap my around what's going on".
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Less than a year away from unrestricted free agency, Karlsson, 28, isn't coming off his best season since being drafted by Ottawa No. 15 overall in 2008, but he's arguably still the NHL's best defenceman.
That launched the #MelnykOut hashtag on Twitter the same month, and while Melnyk eventually backtracked on the relocation talk, some fans made a decision to vent their frustration by raising money to fund a series of billboards featuring the slogan.
More controversy bubbled to the surface in May when former captain and franchise icon Daniel Alfredsson, who left his role with Ottawa as a senior adviser the previous summer, was quoted saying he hopes the team gets a new owner.
Through it all, Karlsson's future remained a key talking point ahead of February's trade deadline.