NHL Rumor Mill – January 20, 2018
Latest on Erik Karlsson, John Tavares, Evander Kane and more in your NHL rumor mill.
SENATORS LAYING GROUNDWORK TO MOVE KARLSSON?
SPORTSNET: Comments on Thursday by Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion suggesting he could listen to a good offer for Erik Karlsson prompted Elliotte Friedman to suggest the Sens could be laying the groundwork to trade their captain. Dorion said his club’s first priority is to re-sign Karlsson, who’s eligible in 2019 to become an unrestricted free agent. However, he added, “He’s a special player, but Wayne Gretzky got traded, so, if a team offers you an offer you can’t turn down, you listen.”
Friedman feels Karlsson’s wants to be a Senator for the remainder of his career. “But I think there’s a lot of players there who doubt they can win under current ownership — I think he’s one of them,” he said.
Taking note of Dorion’s comments, Eric Francis ponders what it might cost the Calgary Flames to make a pitch for Karlsson. “(What) if the Flames offered up a package that included (Harvard defenseman Adam) Fox, a top goalie prospect (former NCAA champ Jon Gillies or former Memorial Cup/world junior champ Tyler Parsons) and another stud defensive prospect in either Rasmus Andersson or Oliver Kylington?” He also wonders if the Flames might have to add a roster play as well, and if it would be too high a price for a blueliner who’ll be a UFA next year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before everyone starts salivating over a Karlsson trade, let’s remember that Dorion said his first priority is re-signing the blueliner. He’s not ruling out a trade but he’s not saying he’s shopping him. Unless Karlsson is asking to be dealt, Dorion isn’t under pressure to move him before the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
Is it possible the Sens could get an offer too good to pass up for Karlsson? Sure. Will they get it before the trade deadline? Probably not. Players of that magnitude tend to get dealt in the offseason, not in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline. That’s because there are more teams flush with salary-cap space in the summer willing to make trades. If the Sens and Karlsson can’t agree to a contract extension this summer, I wouldn’t be surprised if Dorion tries to trade him.
COULD THE CANADIENS PURSUE TAVARES THIS SUMMER?
TSN: Darren Dreger believes it’s unlikely center John Tavares will leave the New York Islanders via free agency in July. Given the Montreal Canadiens’ lack of depth at center, however, he feels they have no choice but to be ready just in case Tavares hits the open market. If the Isles captain becomes a UFA, Dreger said an NHL executive suggested someone could offer him a seven-year deal worth $15-million per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I share Dreger’s belief that Tavares will re-sign with the Islanders. Assuming he doesn’t, however, I expect the Canadiens will be among the numerous suitors who’ll line up to sign him. Some folks might scoff at Tavares getting $15 million annually and I agree that’s too much, but never dismiss the ability of some general managers to succumb to auction fever on July 1.
Meanwhile, Dreger also reported Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has assets, such as forwards Max Pacioretty, Andrew Shaw and Alex Galchenyuk, he could consider moving out at the trade deadline. He said there are suitors interested in those players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: At least one of those forwards will be playing for a new club by Feb. 26. Pacioretty will attract the most interest but Bergevin might prefer waiting for the offseason trade market in hopes of getting a better return. Shaw’s $3.9 million cap hit isn’t too bad but the length of his deal (he’s signed through 2021-22) could be a deal breaker. Galchenyuk’s younger (23), still has upside and, while earning $4.9 million AAV, has only two more seasons remaining on his contract. That could make him the most likely to be dealt.
LATEST ON THE WILD
THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo recently fielded questions from his readers over possible moves by the Minnesota Wild. If GM Chuck Fletcher makes moves at the deadline, he thinks he’d attempt to shed salary by moving out players such as Marcus Foligno or Tyler Ennis, rather than trading draft picks for rental players. He wouldn’t be shocked if Fletcher tried to move Chris Stewart. He could also see him move Matt Cullen if the Wild fall out of the playoff race.
Asked if the Wild might consider moving a player from their “young” core, Russo thinks they’ll have to consider it. He could see forward Charlie Coyle being moved, unless they feel the cost of re-signing Matt Dumba or Jason Zucker is getting out of whack. While noting Coyle’s had a disappointing season since returning from a broken tibia, trading him would be a significant step and they’d have to get a solid return. Such a move would likely have to happen in the offseason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much will depend, of course, on where the Wild are in the standings leading up to the deadline next month. As of today, they’re sitting just outside of a wild-card berth in the Western Conference. If they’re still in the hunt they could become buyers. If not, they’ll look to shed salary and perhaps rethink the makeup of their current roster.
Trade interest in Evander Kane is heating up. Still could be deadline deal as market grows. Reinhart trade unlikely in next 2 months.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 19, 2018