NHL Rumor Mill – August 30, 2018
Latest on the Golden Knights, Senators and Red Wings in your NHL rumor mill.
GOLDEN KNIGHTS STILL PURSUING KARLSSON?
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: David Schoen reports trade rumors have linked the Vegas Golden Knights to Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson for some time. But with training camp opening in two weeks, they appear no closer to landing the all-star blueliner.
Schoen considers Karlsson a “perfect fit” for the Golden Knights’ fast-moving transition game. The blueliner is eligible next summer for unrestricted free agent status. All signs point to Karlsson not re-signing with the Senators, who can’t afford to lose their best trade asset for nothing.
Schoen notes trade speculation has also tied the Tampa Bay Lightning, Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks to Karlsson. He suspects the Senators’ asking price could be four pieces, including an NHL player, a top prospect and a first-round pick.
The Golden Knights were reportedly close to landing the two-time Norris Trophy winner at last season’s trade deadline but the deal fell through. They have the cap space to absorb Karlsson’s $6.5-million salary-cap hit and enough to re-sign him. However, the Senators could also be trying to unload winger Bobby Ryan’s contract ($7.25-million annually through 2021-22) in the deal. They could also want one of the Golden Knights top prospects, such as Cody Glass or Erik Brannstrom, or perhaps promising defenseman Shea Theodore.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good synopsis by Schoen of where the Golden Knights stand in the Karlsson trade rumor chatter. While the Stars and Lightning are considered the front-runners by many observers, I would include Vegas among them.
Of the clubs supposedly interested in the Senators captain, the Golden Knights appear to be an ideal trade partner. They have plenty of salary-cap room, depth in quality prospects and promising young players, lots of extra draft picks and appear keen to bring in a true superstar. Their impressive inaugural season and Sun Belt location could make them a tempting destination for Karlsson, who holds a 10-team no-trade list.
LATEST ON THE SENATORS
OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren reports Erik Karlsson politely declined a recent interview request, saying he’d speak to the press when training camp opens on Sept. 13. Warren also expects Bobby Ryan will return with the Senators this season as his contract makes him almost untradeable.
Warren wonders what the future holds for 36-year-old winger Marian Gaborik. If he’s healthy, Warren believes the Senators could buy out his contract or perhaps explore a trade, perhaps by trying to include him in a Karlsson deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Last week’s resurgence in Karlsson trade speculation prompted some pundits to suggest the Senators could be trying to move Karlsson before training camp opens. We’ll find out soon enough if that’s the case.
As for Gaborik, unless there’s a different rule in the CBA regarding contract buyouts and players coming off injury, the Sens will have to wait until next June at the earliest to go that route. I doubt they’ll find any takers for Ryan or Gaborik, but then again, I didn’t think the Kings would be able to move the latter’s contract until the Senators came calling by offering up defenseman Dion Phaneuf.
WHAT WILL THE RED WINGS DO WITH ATHANASIOU?
MLIVE.COM: In a recent profile of Detroit Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou, Ansar Khan noted his inconsistency made the winger fodder for trade speculation. If the Wings decide to trade him they’ll want a player who can help them immediately, like a defenseman. With Henrik Zetterberg likely headed for long-term injured reserve, the Wings could slide Athanasiou into their third-line center role.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This coming season could determine how long Athanasiou remains with the Red Wings. His speed and offensive skills are enticing but his lack of consistency casts his future in Detroit into doubt. They’ll assess his performance over the course of 2018-19. If he fails to play up to expectations they could shop him before the Feb. 25 trade deadline.