NHL Rumor Mill – February 28, 2018
Continuing fallout from the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline involving Erik Karlsson, Max Pacioretty and more in today’s rumor mill.
KARLSSON SAYS HE WANTS TO STAY IN OTTAWA
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators captain Erik Karlsson told reporters yesterday he was happy he wasn’t dealt at Monday’s NHL trade deadline. He also said he’s open to the idea of signing a long-term contract extension with the team. He’s eligible next summer to become an unrestricted free agent. The earliest the Senators can open contract discussions with him is July 1. Karlsson said he never asked to be traded and doesn’t want to move.
TSN: Jeff O’Neill wonders why Karlsson didn’t express those views before the trade deadline. Dave Poulin noted Karlsson’s comments earlier this season about seeking top dollar on his next contract and doubts there’s a fit in Ottawa. O’Neill doesn’t believe Senators owner Eugen Melnyk will pay it. Bob McKenzie points out the Senators talked seriously about possibly trading Karlsson and feels they’ll try it again at the 2018 NHL Draft. If he’s still with the Senators by July 1, that’s when contract talks will begin but that could become a messy business.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Darren Dreger yesterday telling Montreal’s TSN 690 he doubts Karlsson will re-sign with the Senators. He feels the situation has gone down a road of no return. He also noted the Vegas Golden Knights’ attempt to acquire Karlsson at the trade deadline.While they make a substantial offer, Dreger said Ottawa sources suggest it wasn’t that close.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with the TSN panelists. Things will have to shift dramatically (a massive injection of talent or Melnyk sells the team) for Karlsson to stay long-term with the Senators. I realize that’s not what most Senators fans want to hear, but I think Karlsson’s days in Ottawa are numbered. Melnyk will never pay top dollar ($12 million? $13 million?) per season for Karlsson.
GM Pierre Dorion’s rather cryptic remark post-deadline about trying to re-sign Karlsson on July 1 “if he’s still here” speaks volumes. As McKenzie pointed out, they listened to trade offers leading up to deadline day and they’ll listen again at the draft, when there will be more teams flush with extra salary-cap dollars willing to pursue a superstar like Karlsson. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Golden Knights revisit their interest in him this summer.
PACIORETTY RELIEVED HE WASN’T DEALT ON DEADLINE DAY.
SPORTSNET: Eric Engels reports Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty told the media yesterday he was relieved that he wasn’t moved at Monday’s trade deadline. He said he never asked to be traded and insists he wants to stay in Montreal and try to be part of the solution to their current problems.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Darren Dreger telling Montreal’s TSN 690 that it didn’t sound as though the Montreal Canadiens were close to moving left wing Max Pacioretty before Monday’s trade deadline. Dreger said there was a hig level of interest in the Habs captain but the teams he spoke with said the asking price was “ridiculous”. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin sought a good young No. 2 center as part of the return. Dreger believed Bergevin might have better luck in the offseason. While Pacioretty didn’t formally request a trade, Dreger thinks the Canadiens captain would’ve welcomed a move.
CALGARY SUN: Eric Francis reports Pacioretty and his teammate Brendan Gallagher were among the players the Flames looked into prior to Monday’s trade deadline. The Flames passed on making expensive acquisitions and instead acquired forward Nick Shore from Ottawa and plucked winger Chris Stewart off waivers from the Minnesota Wild.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty is among the few Canadiens who live year-round in Montreal. I don’t doubt his sincerity to help the club and his relief over not being moved by the deadline. Still, his future with the Habs remains in doubt. He’s a year away from eligibility for unrestricted free agency and will seek a substantial raise over his current $4.5-million annual cap hit.
Pacioretty is probably the Canadiens’ best trade chip heading into the offseason, lacking no-trade protection in his contract. If there’s an opportunity for Bergevin to acquire a good young top-six center this summer, I believe Pacioretty will be dealt.
As for the Flames interest in Gallagher, I don’t doubt they probably inquired but I don’t see the Habs moving him. Gallagher’s been among the few bright spots in an otherwise horrible season. Bergevin sees him as a core player.
RED WINGS UPDATE
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports Mike Green’s neck injury prevented the Detroit Red Wings from moving him at the trade deadline. There were several teams interested in him but they were concerned his injury might flare up again. Khan noted a few clubs, including Toronto, had some interest in forward Luke Glendening. They didn’t receive any offers for winger Gustav Nyquist, who has no-trade protection. Despite some speculation, the Wings have no interest in moving forward Andreas Athanasiou.
Khan also reports the Red Wings are interested in re-signing Green, who’s due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Green acknowledged he’s had some discussions with management and expects they’ll have more.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting that there was no interest in Nyquist, though his full no-trade likely played a part in that. Ditto his $4.75-million annual cap hit through 2018-19, though in real salary (as per Cap Friendly) he’ll earned $5.5 million next season.
Athanasiou is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights, which is what sparked the trade conjecture about him leading up to the trade deadline. His previous contract negotiations were quite messy, resulting in an ill-advised holdout that culminated in his one-year worth over $1.3 million. It’ll be interesting to see how things go between the two sides this summer.