NHL Rumor Mill – August 24, 2018

by | Aug 24, 2018 | Rumors | 53 comments

The latest Erik Karlsson speculation plus updates on the Detroit Red Wings in your NHL rumor mill.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators don’t want to get caught up in false deadlines or move defenseman Erik Karlsson just for the sake of doing so. However, there’s talk the club hopes to move defenseman Erik Karlsson before the start of training camp on Sept. 13.  While the Senators weren’t close to getting what they wanted in a deal in early-July, they could be inching toward it now.

Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson reportedly isn’t interested in signing a contract extension with a Canadian team. (Photo via NHL Images)

Trade talk has picked up recently after dying down following a frenzy of speculation in early-July. The Tampa Bay Lightning, Dallas Stars, Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks are believed to have interest in the all-star blueliner.

Garrioch also notes a report Thursday claiming Karlsson won’t sign a contract extension with any Canadian team. This comes a day following a report claiming the Vancouver Canucks had made inquiries.

SPORTSNET: TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie said Canucks fans shouldn’t hold their breath expecting their club to land Karlsson. He feels Vancouver GM Jim Benning was merely kicking the tires, noting the Senators’ asking price would likely include young players Benning doesn’t want to part with. Lavoie believes Karlsson could be heading to a Western Conference club, most likely the Stars, who at one point last month was consider the front-runner.

THE ATHLETIC: In his latest Dallas Stars mailbag, Sean Shapiro noted the Stars had at one point made what was considered at the time to be the best offer for Karlsson and it didn’t involve taking on Ottawa winger Bobby Ryan’s contract. He said the Stars remain interested but at no point were they willing to part with top prospect Miro Heiskanen. There’s a sense this deal won’t get done unless Karlsson is willing to sign a contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps another club will jump into the fray but it appears the Stars, Lightning and Golden Knights stand the best chance of landing Karlsson. If Benning isn’t willing to part with a couple of his best young assets we can forget about Karlsson heading to Vancouver. If he’s truly unwilling to sign with a Canadian team it makes no sense for the Canucks or any other Canadian club to pursue him.

Senators general manager Pierre Dorion will obviously call around in hopes of drumming up more interest in Karlsson and thus drive up the asking price. How many clubs will get involved remains to be seen. Dorion could find himself talking with only a handful of teams carrying the cap space and depth in young players willing to make this deal before training camp opens.  


THE ATHLETIC: Craig Custance recently examined options for the Detroit Red Wings if captain Henrik Zetterberg’s ailing back sidelines him for the season. The Wings will get some some much-needed salary-cap flexibility if Zetterberg and his $6.083-million cap hit get placed on long-term injured reserve to start the season. 

Should the Wings fall out of playoff contention, they could use that cap space to take back salary from contending clubs while moving players at the trade deadline. For example, if  they trade pending free-agent winger Gustav Nyquist ($4.75 million) they could absorb up to half of his cap hit to make him more attractive in the trade market.

Should Zetterberg’s bad back bring his playing career to an end, the Wings could look at moving his contract next summer in a cost-cutting move. His actual salary for the final two years of his contract (2019-20, 2020-21) is $1 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll likely find out Zetterberg’s status in three weeks time after he undergoes his training-camp medical. By the sound of things his playing days are likely over. Going on LTIR means they won’t have to shed salary via trade to make room for a young player like promising Filip Zadina. Picking up part of Nyquist’s cap hit would certainly improve his value in this season’s trade market.

If Zetterberg’s career is truly over, he won’t retire because of the cap-recapture penalty the Wings would incur. They could try to trade his contract this season but that won’t be easy with all clubs having already invested their available cap space. That move will likely happen next summer. 



  1. As a Pens/Leafs fan, I reiterate my hopes of EK going West (VGK, Dal) and fear a smooth move by Stevie Y.

    IMO … EK to TBay makes them East faves for SCF and IMO Cup faves

    EK wants to go to TBay ….so an extension probability is much more likely with them. Callahan move would be the hold up and I’ve posted many times before that he could be moved in the EK deal without directly involving a third party

    Dall, VGK, TB all have serious after tax (take home pay ) advantages over the entire league (save for FLA and NSH who have same tax set up)…. so EK can accept lower in Cap contract and net same takehome pay relative to other locations ($11M Cap in T.O. is about $10.0M in TB/Dal/VGK)

    I see no reluctance by VGK or TBay to do a SB (singing bonus) laden contract which is EK’s desire. Less so for Dal

    • How do you know he wants to go to Tampa ?

      • Skippy

        Great catch. Sorry if I inferred that I knew personally he wants to go to TB.

        I was basically using/following the script “he wants to go to Tampa Bay” used by many many media outlets (including HNC, TSN,SN etc. etc. )….

        in addition to also basing it on (1) his close friendship to Hedman; (2) great city, with excellent tax incentives; and (3) good team already high up on contender list, and great GM

        I do have a strong gut feeling that this EKs preferred destination (based alot on above) but it is just and educated guess/speculation on my part.

        Sorry for inferring a given that is actually speculative.

    • If Karlson goes to Tampa he’s going to cost them a lot of their depth and they will end up top heavy, by salary cap alone. Tampa is better off with the roster they have right now over the long hall. If a team spends a bunch of assets to get Karlson and he gets injured and can’t play they are considerably weaker than if they kept those depth/ young players.

      • Deee

        I don’t want EK to go to Tbay — but a deal can be done w/o losing too much

        No matter what — they lose Serg and 1st (20) but they could then just have to give up one of Raddysh/Katchouk in depth

        Serg,Call, Girardi, 1st (20), Raddysh OR Katchouk for EK. Ottw retains 50% of Call- flip—receiving team gets him at $2.9M Cap for 2, but only $2.35M actual — worth a 3rd. Ottw cash flow basically unchanged but gain 1st, 3rd, Serg, Raddysh OR Katchouk, and use of Girardi for 1 year. Tbay gains Cap space ; now has 4 Dmen stallwarts (3 Swedes and McD) that will skate for 50 minutes of every game; and remainder of Katchouk/Raddysh can move up for displaced Call roster spot (other wingers shift) – doable. Out years – Tbay —no tag yet as commitments not all there for 19/20 yet— lots of space.. Full year for Stevie Y to come up with moves… doable.

        Will it happen as above — Nyet…. cuz I thought of it— they don’t happen

      • If I’m Tampa I’m not trading Segachev. I’ve seen that kid play at the rookie tournament in London 2 years ago for Montreal and he dominated the ice when he was playing. My eye test says that he is going to be a superstar and trading him by Montreal was a mistake, trading him for a couple of years of Karlson before his decline where the team is paying him for past performance that he can’t live up to is a travesty. I wouldn’t trade Heiskanen for him either and on both trades Ottawa wants more than those 2nplayers. If I’m Tampa and Ottawa won’t deal for picks and non NHL prospects I will just wait until he is UFA and get him for just cash. Because of taxes you take home more making 8 mill in Tampa as you do making 11 in Ottawa. If I’m Karlsson I sign next summer with Tampa for 7.5-8 for 8 years and suffer though another year in Ottawa to get there. Tampa is going to be just as good for the 19-20 season as they are now and if they add Karlsson for free it might be better to play the long game. The Penguins have the experience and the best roster they have had in Crosby’s career if I’m Yzerman maybe I don’t sacrifice my young future superstars in Sergachev and Point to pay a guy an 8 year max contact that he will probably start to decline half way through.

    • I didn’t understand the Ryan McDonagh when he signed with TB. 7 years at $6.75M/yr signed a full season before he becomes a FA. Stevie Y has done great things with his cap but this looks like a Brent Seabrook contract right from the get-go.

      This is the Karlsson money right here, and it is tied up for the longterm.

  2. Two years ago I would have agreed with moving Nyquist. His play last season was much more physical and he deserves a look. If we can unload the albatross contracts of Abby and DeKeyser, move those instead. Bring up a young D and Givani Smith and the Wings are a better team with some salary cap space to go out and find a true #1 center or D. We don’t have either.

    • Isn’t Dylan Larkin a #1 C? He tied for 21st in scoring for C’s last season & just turned 22 on July 30th with 242 games of NHL regular season experience. He has yet to see 1st line PP time in his career but played on Det’s 2nd PK unit & he lead all Det forwards in TOI/GP last season at 19:51. I think it’s safe to say Larkin’s best offensive years are still to come & Blashill has been forced Larkin to learn to be responsible defensively before letting him free offensively.

      The only issue with Dekeyser is his salary he is nominally overpaid but he was 2 years from UFA status when resigned & Detroit bought 4 UFA years on his 6 year 30 mil deal. Detroit’s D isn’t great with Dekeyser but they couldn’t afford to lose this player. He is a solid defensive Dman & the only NHL regular Dman in Detroit not to post a negative +/-. I highly doubt Detroit is trading him nor would it help. He see’s virtually no offensive assignments & zero PP time.

      • Larkin one of the young stars of the league,for sure. Great set of wheels. Sneaky fast, like a young Marleau.

  3. I don’t imagine there are too many 7th round picks (210th overall in 1999 in his case) who will have wound up their careers with 1082 gp, 337 goals – 623 assists – 960 pts. Kind of sad to see Zetterberg wind up his great career this way.

    • Agreed. Watching him & Datsyuk; 6th round selection at 171, play for Detroit has been a pleasure. I would assume both end up in the Hockey Hall of Fame & well deserved.

    • Does anyone feel like this might be a Hossa situation where a player that is older just doesn’t want to play for such a tiny paycheck so they are making up a way to get on the LTIR? It’s not as ridiculous as Hossas reason but Zetterberg has only missed 5 games in the last 4 years but suddenly he’s half crippled just in time for him to make only 1 mill a year?

      • Deee

        Anything is possible. I didn’t perceive it that way. I was however, less convinced in the Hossa situation.

      • Quite possibly. I can’t get any solid information on if Zetterberg actually had surgery this summer. Apparently, he didn’t practice in the 2nd 1/2 of last season.

        We had a report he played in some golf tournament this summer & I broke my back in 2012, crushed T6 & I can assure you I don’t golf or ski any longer. I have tried just not worth the weeks of pain & aggravation following such. Few things that twist the back in such an unnatural way as golf but bad backs are a death nail for hockey players.

        It is sure sounding like he’s heading to Robidas/Lupul/Hossa island. If not this season when’s he’s slated to be paid 3.35 then certainly for the last 2 when his actual salary drops to 1 mil per. Detroit appears to be laying the groundwork for him to head to LTIR as soon as both wish or need to.

      • Zetterberg does have back problems and has had them for years. It is well documented. Also, he is not the type of person to play the “I’m hurt” clause not to play for 3 million this year and the 1 for the next two.

        Golf is a bit different than hockey. You don’t have to skate hard, maneuver nor get hit playing golf.

    • George

      Bang on— great player to watch. Sad to see this happening.

      • “Also, he is not the type of person to play the “I’m hurt” clause not to play for 3 million this year and the 1 for the next two.”

        Really, you know him personally so you know what “type of person” his? So, what’s his favorite color?

      • I’ve been watching him his whole career. He has the respect of all the great players in the league including guys that know him the best, Steve Yzerman and Nick Lidstrom.

        Do I know him personally? No. The closest I come is a friend of mine that works in media at the arena with guys like Mickey Redmond.

        Does this make me an expert on his personality? No, but I have more insight on him than you probably do. I’ve seen his interviews, read the reports, and followed the team extensively. Why do you have such a problem with my assessment? Do you know him personally?

      • Red. Ha-ha!

      • Striker, what is so funny about Mickey Redmond?

  4. I honestly thought With lull in trade talk that Karlsson and Ottowa were working things out. Guess not. Dallas seems likely spot, but have to extend Seguin and EK. Looking at at least 20M for both, on top of Benns contract. Long term cap problems for Tampa as well. Vegas seems likely, but what would they look like after trade? Brings me back to my Rangers, where I touched on yesterday. If, and only if, Ottowa would take a package deal including Hayes and Zuc. Something similar to what Buffalo got for OReilly. It was mentioned yesterday that Sens wouldn’t want 2 more guys that will be ufa’s, but if you’re throwing in a prospect(or another roster player) and draft pick? Hayes and Zuc can always be flipped at deadline for more assets. Add to this, story out yesterday that Panarin expected to go to NY next season…. possibility of getting both with out sacrificing future.

    • Dude learn how to spell Ottawa this is like 8 times in a row now. There is no way your device isn’t auto-correcting you either. You have to be doing it on purpose and that is disrespectful to Canada.

      • you mean like most Canadians leaving the “h” off of Pittsburg …???

      • Ed, most Canadians don’t leave the H off of Pittsburgh just like most Americans don’t spell Ottawa incorrectly.

      • No, like “most Americans” not knowing that it was Bryan Murray who traded for Bobby Ryan in 2013 and who gave him that contract. Not really – just tired of your BS posts which add nothing.

      • Pittsburgh is my team and I have never spelt it wrong. I have also never spelt Washington wrong which is the capital of the US, you know the same as Ottawa is the capital of Canada. I get is you don’t spell Saskatchewan right or if you don’t know the capital of the Sudan but Canada is your biggest ally and trading partner and that’s one thing you should get right. Even a a flyers fan should be able to grasp this concept.

      • It’s warshington… duh

    • Slick62

      Extension discussions could still be ongoing. Skeptics could say this is just a media blitz/guess and/or bargaining tactics. All up in the air.

      I disagree with you that Dall is most likely of the 3.

      VGK willing to take on BR , would be shelling out Theo and of course the mandatory 1st, and would then likely add Suzuki (Dorion would push for Glass instead).

      Dall offer would have to be Heisk and 1st but then what — and they are not taking BR

      The TBay suggestion I had above, I think is better than Dall can offer up.

      All speculation and all for ships ‘n giggles.

      Wait until we all see a huge shocker come down the pipes with EK going to a team that no one is even remotely considering in the list of possibilities. Expect the unexpected. LOL

      • I wasn’t putting Dallas as “most” likely… really assessing the 3 teams mentioned. I see their owner as a guy willing to buy a cup.

      • Penguin, trade you’re proposing doesn’t have Vegas moving salary. They don’t have that much cap space!!

      • Slick62,

        it is a long shot with VGK to get EK and take BR— but they do have cap space with Clarkson on IR. They’d have to do some first day shuffles and would be tight up against cap— but it is feasible (longer shot, but feasible).

        I’d love EK to go to VGK— West and away from Pens/Leafs but for 2 games in reg. season and all playoffs unless teams make SCF. In addition I like VGK team; fun to watch.

        EK, just please stay away from TBay 🙂

      • I wouldn’t trade Theodore for Karlsson either. It’s like trading a 2017 BMW for a 2008 BMW. Why would you do that in a million years? The 2008 has higher mileage and is going to break down sooner than the newer model. Just because the 2008 has been more places and done more things? It makes no sense.

      • Deee
        More like a 2017 Buick for a 2008 Ferarri

  5. According to CapFriendly over 1/2 of NHL teams have over 6 mil salary in cap space many of those but not all could afford to take on Zetterberg’s cap hit until he can be placed on LTIR, just a question of the compensation Detroit would have to pay them to facilitate the transaction. His contract is also insured so the cost to a team choosing to do so would only be in or around 20% of the actual salary owed.

    • Striker

      Thanks for pointing out the %’age owed by team vs. ins. companies. I had always wondered what it was.

      Is there a fundamentally basic ins. package across the NHL (premiums for risk aside) with a 20/80 split : team/ins. co.?

      Thanks in advance for your response

      • I’m not absolutely positive but I believe this # has been bandied about in the past. Lyle may have a more concrete #’s.

      • Thanks Striker


  6. Can the wings not demote Franzen’s contract? There is not a NMC on the contract and it would free up $3.95m!

    • No. When teams send Veterans down they only get 950k of cap relief.

      • Isn’t that true for contracts signed by players at 35+ y/o? Franzen was around 28 y/o by the time of his signing.

    • No but they can put him on LTIR at some point. Essentially eliminating his cap hit. They are allowed to exceed the cap by his cap hit.

  7. $950 cap relief is still better than DET’s current $0.00 of cap room according to Cap Friendly!

    • According to cap friendly he is in IR now. Zetterberg will have to go LTIR to be cap compliant.

  8. Nice slap in the face to Canadian fans by Karlsson. He has earned the right to play where he wants, but why say something like that? I hope he gets booed in every Canadian rink! Your best days are behind you bud, you’ve lost a gear with those injuries. Caveat Emptor!! Buyer beware!!

    • He never said that. Friedman did I believe. Karlsson actually spoke to this issue & this issue only today.

      • Sorry Striker

        I was typing at time you were posting— not meaning to duplicate your thought


    • Adam

      You may very well be right that Karlsson said that. I’m not sure that he did say that … above says :

      “Garrioch also notes a report Thursday claiming Karlsson won’t sign a contract extension with any Canadian team.”

      So it is a notation of a report that has a claim but does not cite author of claim.

      I’m certainly not stating it wasn’t Karlsson saying that; I just don’t know.

      This could be a “firm speculation” (of not signing a contract extension with a Cnd team) quoted as “won’t” sign.

      From just a logical perspective, in addition to Canadian teams’ players being more heavily taxed — take home less (yes not only rationale and certainly not premiere rationale for a player’s signing decision, but just pointing it out):

      I don’t see a fit in Vancouver;

      can’t see a financial fit in Toronto or Winn;and

      See less than average match in Mon, Ed, Cgy.

      Note: Many teams in the US would also fall into those assumptions but to me (guessing) it is a reporter speculating/concluding no extensions to Canadian teams more than an actual quote from Karlsson or his mgt. team —- now I’m speculating 🙂

      • Karlsson also made a comment he wanted to “get paid what he’s worth” which media turned into “he wants to be highest paid player”

    • Well Adam, not sure you realize the irony in your statement. If EK really doesn’t want to play in Canada because of living under a microscope with over emotional fans taking a players contract decisions as a personal slight, then you just made made his point for him.

      I don’t think we know what he really thinks or why he did or did not say that.
      Bottom line is that he is not a fit for any Canadian team right now due to where they are competitively or within the cap. The Leafs as a 1 year rental are the only one that makes sense, but the topic was an extension.

  9. There is no way the Leafs want to give up Nylander and more to get Karlsson as a one year rental they would want a long term contract worked out. Toronto will have Tavares Mathews Marner and Anderson to deal with at about 40 or more million in near future not much room for Nylander or for sure Karlsson.

    • It looks like Karlsson won’t resign with any team ahead of his UFA period. That will seriously decrease what Ottawa will get in a trade. Ottawa will eventually trade him when they accept this.

  10. Boston should kick the tires on Karlsson.
    I would do Carlo,Krug and Backes (salary to work)
    For Ryan and Karlsson. As long as Karlsson stays.