NHL Rumor Mill – August 15, 2018
An update on Erik Karlsson plus the latest on the Sharks in your NHL rumor mill.
ALL QUIET ON THE KARLSSON CONTRACT FRONT
TSN: Brent Wallace reports contract talks between the Ottawa Senators and defenseman Erik Karlsson have gone “eerily quiet” since general manager Pierre Dorion pitched a contract extension offer in early-July.
Karlsson hasn’t spoken publicly about the issue, nor about the allegations of cyberbullying his wife Melinda leveled at the fiancee of former teammate Mike Hoffman earlier this year. Wallace said he was told the Senators captain won’t speak to the media until training camp opens in early-September.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed Dorion’s offer, reportedly similar to the eight-year, $88-million contract extension signed in late-June by Los Angeles Kings blueliner Drew Doughty, was rejected by the Karlsson camp. There followed several reports in early-July claiming the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning were in trade discussions with Dorion about the superstar defenseman. At one point, there was talk a deal with the Lightning was close but nothing came of it.
As the calendar flips to September and training camp approaches, speculation over Karlsson’s future in Ottawa could ramp up again. Wallace’s report doesn’t bode well for hopes of a contract extension.
LATEST ON THE SHARKS
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Kevin Kurz stated his belief the San Jose Sharks wanted to more than they did this summer, based upon their failed pursuits of John Tavares, Ilya Kovalchuk and Max Pacioretty. He reminds us that big trades rarely occur in the first three months of the season, so the Sharks roster we see on opening night could be very close to their roster come Christmas.
Asked if he sees the Sharks trading Tomas Hertl, Kurz believes that move would only take place if it’s a “blockbuster-type deal for a top-six center.” Otherwise, dealing Hertl doesn’t make sense. He’s also established solid chemistry with Logan Couture.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kurz also reminds us that Sharks GM Doug Wilson likes to say the roster isn’t set until the trade deadline has passed. He has a long history of swinging significant moves near the deadline, with his steal of Evander Kane last February from the Buffalo Sabres the most recent example.
Wilson could surprise us with a big move before the season opens in October but I believe he’ll wait and evaluate his roster needs from training camp until early-January and then do his usual big-game hunting in the weeks leading up to the Feb. trade deadline. Maybe Hertl could become trade bait but, as Kurz noted, it’ll have to be for a significant return.