NHL Rumor Mill – August 17, 2018
Another update on Erik Karlsson plus five players on one-year contracts worth watching this season in your NHL rumor mill.
SENATORS TO BE PATIENT WITH A KARLSSON TRADE
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators aren’t going to rush into trading defenseman Erik Karlsson. Despite the feverish media trade chatter early last month when a couple of teams sought permission to speak to him about a contract extension, the Senators didn’t receive a suitable tempting offer.
That speculation arose after the Sens offered Karlsson an eight-year deal worth over $80 million. As of now, nothing is imminent on the contract or trade fronts. Management intends to remain patient with this situation.
Karlsson has one year remaining on his contract. If he’s not traded by the time training camp opens on Sept. 13 he still intends to honor that final season and report to camp.
Garrioch said Senators general manager Pierre Dorion doesn’t intend to give Karlsson away and will wait for the right return. It’s believed five or six clubs, including the Vegas Golden Knights, Tampa Bay Lightning, Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks, remain interested in the Senators’ captain.
It’s unknown what Dorion’s asking price is but Garrioch believes it’ll be expensive. He also wonders if the Anaheim Ducks or Vancouver Canucks might “kick the tires” because they have the assets to make a deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson could be traded today, tomorrow, next week, next month, before Christmas or the Feb. 25, 2019 NHL trade deadline. It’s even possible he’ll re-sign if the Sens make a bigger contract proposal, though at this point that seems like wishful thinking.
By the sound of things, Dorion isn’t being pressured by ownership to move Karlsson so he can afford to take his time. However, once 2019 rolls around, the countdown to the trade deadline will be on and he’ll definitely start feeling the heat.
It’s believed Dorion sought young defenseman Mikhail Sergechev as part of the return from the Lightning and top prospect Miro Heiskanen from the Stars. No word on what the Golden Knights offered up but young rearguard Shea Theodore would probably be part of the return. The Sharks might have to part with Timo Meier or Tomas Hertl.
The Ducks’ considerable depth in defensemen (Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, Brandon Montour, Josh Manson and the promising Jacob Larsson) could prove attractive to the Senators. The Canucks also have some good young assets with brights futures (Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, Olli Juolevi) to offer up if they wanted.
However, Karlsson carries a modified no-trade clause and those two clubs might not be on his list of preferred trade destinations. The Ducks’ biggest need is for young, swift-skating scoring forwards. Karlsson might not be keen to join a rebuilding club in Vancouver.
FIVE PLAYERS ON ONE-YEAR DEALS TO WATCH IN 2018-19
THN.COM: Jared Clinton recently listed Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba, Ottawa Senators winger Mark Stone, Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson, New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes and New York Islanders center Brock Nelson as five NHL players worth watching when the calendar flips to Jan.1, 2019. That’s the earliest those five, who signed one-year contracts this summer, can be re-signed to contract extensions by their respective clubs.
Trouba and Karlsson will once again be eligible next summer for restricted free agent status with arbitration rights. Stone, Hayes and Nelson are slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 1, 2019.
Trouba and the Jets have had difficult contract talks in the past. Clinton suggests the Jets might consider moving him in the months leading up to free agency rather than have another possible arbitration saga drag on into another summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The consensus among most pundits weighing in on Trouba’s status is the Jets won’t move him during the upcoming season. He’ll be valuable to their efforts to stage a run for the Stanley Cup next spring. However, his status with the club could bear watching in the weeks leading up to July 1.
As per Cap Friendly, the Jets have over $46 million already invested in 10 players with other notables such as Patrik Laine, Blake Wheeler, Kyle Connor and Tyler Myers to re-sign. Trouba could become the odd man out.
If the Senators cannot re-sign Stone, the conversation could shift toward whether or not to shop him before the February trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even if the Senators aren’t starting that conversation by early-January, you can bet a lot of pundits will be having it. They’ll be justified doing so, as the Sens cannot let Stone walk away for nothing next summer.
Should Karlsson have a solid follow-up to last season’s 43-goal performance, he’ll be looking at a big-money extension over his current one-year, $5.25-million contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: And if Karlsson hits around the same numbers again, the Golden Knights will likely be only too happy to pay him that hefty raise on a long-term extension.
With the Rangers attempting to rebuild on the fly, Hayes could become a high-quality bargaining chip before the trade deadline. If he has another productive campaign, Clinton doesn’t rule out the Rangers attempting to re-sign him.
A return to his 25-goal form could earn Nelson an extension with the Islanders. However, if they’re out of playoff contention by the trade deadline, Nelson could be a worthwhile depth addition for a playoff contender.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will be interesting to see what happens with these two. If both clubs are out of the playoff race in January, they’ll likely be shopped even if they play well this season.