Karlsson Trade Watch – July 6, 2018
Is Erik Karlsson close to being traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning? Read on for today’s updates in your NHL rumor mill.
OTTAWA SUN: Don Brennan first reported yesterday that a reliable source told him to expect the Senators to trade defenseman Erik Karlsson to the Tampa Bay Lightning. He said Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman had been talking to Senators GM Pierre Dorion about Karlsson since before last month’s NHL draft. With limited cap space and such notables as Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy to re-sign within the next two seasons, the Lightning will have to shed salary to make room for Karlsson.
It’s believed the deal won’t include Senators winger Bobby Ryan, who’s signed through 2021-22 with an annual cap hit of $7.25 million. Brennan suspects the Senators would target Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev as part of the return, though the Bolts might prefer retaining him. The Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights are also believed to have interest in Karlsson.
THE ATHLETIC: Chris Stevenson cites a report by TSN’s Darren Dreger suggesting the New York Rangers could be part of a three-way deal in order to accommodate moving sufficient salary to enable the Lightning to acquire Karlsson, who carries a $6.5-million cap hit for 2018-19.
Speculating over the possible return for the Senators, Stevenson believes Sergachev would fit the bill. The Sens would also want affordable center like Brayden Point but the Lightning could be as reluctant to part with him as the Dallas Stars are to give up promising prospect Miro Heiskanen. Center Tyler Johnson could be a more likely target, though he carries a $5-million cap hit and a no-trade clause that kicked in on July 1. Among the prospects the Senators could target are winger Boris Katchouk, right wing Taylor Raddysh or defenseman Cal Foote.
Stevenson also cites Dreger suggesting winger Ryan Callahan could go back to the Rangers in order to help the Lightning clear cap space.
As for the Stars, Stevenson cites sources saying they prefer parting with Julius Honka over Heiskanen as part of the return for Karlsson. Center Devin Shore was also mentioned. He notes their prospect pool isn’t as deep as the Lightning’s.
The Golden Knights came close to acquiring Karlsson at February’s trade deadline and are willing to accept Bobby Ryan as part of the deal, though the return would be lesser. Stevenson believes the Senators would be interested in Vegas defenseman Shea Theodore and forward Alex Tuch.
Stevenson’s colleague Rick Carpiniello reports the Rangers have the cap space to take a bad contract off the Lightning’s hands, provided they get something else as part of the deal. The Rangers already have the Lightning’s 2019 second-round selection, which turns into a first-rounder if Tampa Bay wins the Stanley Cup next spring.
Carpiniello suggests former Rangers winger Ryan Callahan as a possible option. He has two years remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $5.8 million. A source also said the Rangers aren’t interested in taking on Bobby Ryan as they don’t want to have that his contract preventing them from signing a desired player in next summer’s UFA market.
Meanwhile, TSN’s Shawn Simpson last night cited his sources telling him a Karlsson deal with Tampa Bay was done pending a trade call with the league office. However, Lightning insider Erik Erlendssen said while it appears a deal may be close, there was no confirmation the trade call had been made. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said he was getting denials about the trade call, adding “we’ll just have to let things play out”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: By the sound of things, a trade shipping Karlsson to the Lightning could be close to becoming reality. It could be announced today. If it’s a three-team deal involving the Rangers, there’s obviously a lot of moving parts here that would explain why it’s taking so long to get done. It’s also possible this could fall through. We’ll have to wait and see.
The Lightning might be reluctant to part with Sergachev, but for the opportunity to land an elite defenseman like Karlsson, especially if there’s a chance to re-sign him beyond next season, they should go for it. Having two Norris Trophy winners in Karlsson and Victor Hedman would give the Lightning a potent one-two punch on the blueline.
A report last night indicated Johnson had not yet been approached about waiving his no-trade clause. That suggests he might not be part of this swap. Callahan to the Rangers packaged with a top prospect and/or a draft pick seems more likely. We also can’t rule out the possibility of Senators GM Pierre Dorion returning to the Stars or Golden Knights to determine if they’re willing to up the ante.