NHL Rumor Mill – September 12, 2018
Latest Erik Karlsson trade speculation in your NHL rumor mill.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the future of defenseman Erik Karlsson remains in limbo following a video and letter from Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk indicating the club would undergo a full rebuild without mentioning the team’s captain. Karlsson said he’d speak formally to the media about his future when training camp officially opens later this week. He’s due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Garrioch said the Karlsson trade talk has picked up in recent weeks and it’s possible the all-star blueliner could be dealt before training camp opens. “It’s believed the Senators want forwards Mark Stone and Matt Duchene as part of the solution but those two will have to decide down the road if they want to be here.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I realize some of you are getting bored with the seemingly endless speculation over Karlsson. However, he’s the biggest name currently in the rumor mill, a superstar who could help put a Stanley Cup contender over the top. As long as he’s with the Senators, the more media conjecture we’ll have over which clubs are interested in acquiring him. I believe he’s a goner, it’s just a question of how long the Senators wait to get a suitable offer.
NBC SPORTS: Despite the Vegas Golden Knights’ recent acquisition of left wing Max Pacioretty, James O’Brien believes they can still land Erik Karlsson. He notes they still have sufficient cap room and assets to make a deal happen. Their addition of veterans such as Pacioretty and Paul Stastny plus the recent signing of Marc-Andre Fleury to a contract extension indicates they want to remain in Stanley Cup contention.
O’Brien also suggests the Golden Knights consider finding a way to absorb either Bobby Ryan’s or Marian Gaborik’s contract in a Karlsson swap and send the contract of all-but-retired David Clarkson the other way. That scenario would save the Senators $22 million in total salary over the next four years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Brien is merely spitballing here but I agree with him that the Golden Knights still have sufficient cap room and assets to acquire Karlsson. Whether Golden Knights general manager George McPhee is still interested in Karlsson remains to be seen. If they find a creative way to also take on Ryan or Gaborik, I don’t doubt the Senators would be very interested.
SPORTSNET 590 (via NICHOLS ON HOCKEY): With Steve Yzerman stepping down as general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Elliotte Friedman wonders if new Lightning GM Julien BriseBois will be as interested in landing Karlsson as Yzerman reportedly was.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Early-July speculation claimed Yzerman was trying to get a third club involved in order to shed sufficient salary to take on Karlsson’s $6.5-million salary-cap hit for this season. BriseBois could share Yzerman’s interest. The Lightning are considered the favorite to win the Stanley Cup this season. The addition of Karlsson on their blueline, even as a playoff rental, could certainly increase their Cup odds.
THE ATHLETIC: Rick Carpiniello notes the New York Rangers’ acquisition of defenseman Adam McQuaid leaves them with approximately $3.5 million in salary-cap space. “The Rangers would have to make another transaction in order to take on a big salary dump such as Ryan Callahan’s $5.8 million if Tampa Bay renews its efforts to trade for Erik Karlsson, for example.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers were reportedly the third team Yzerman was trying to rope into a potential Karlsson trade. It was rumored the Lightning were offering to return Callahan to the Rangers but the latter apparently wanted a top prospect or a high draft pick as part of the return.