NHL Rumor Mill – November 16, 2022
The Sharks are willing to entertain offers for Erik Karlsson plus the latest on the Senators’ efforts to find a defenseman in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
SHARKS WILLING TO LISTEN TO KARLSSON TRADE OFFERS
NHL.COM: Nicholas J. Cotsonika reports San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier said he’s willing to listen to trade offers for Erik Karlsson. However, he indicated he would discuss any potential deal with the 32-year-old defenseman, who holds a full no-movement clause.
“He’s got the trade protection and (has control over) what he wants to do, “ Grier told Cotsonika. “I know right now he’s happy. His family’s happy here. And we’re thrilled with how he’s playing.”
Karlsson is off to a strong start to this season. He leads all NHL defensemen with 10 goals and 24 points in 18 games. Grier praised him as one of the three best offensive blueliners in the league, singling out his preparation, practice and play. Nevertheless, the Sharks GM didn’t rule out a trade if something came up down the road.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng pointed out Karlsson’s contract will make him difficult to move. In addition to his full no-movement clause, he’s carrying an average annual value of $11.5 million through 2026-27. Peng wondered whether the Sharks would be willing to retain a portion of that cap hit and how much, as well as what circumstances would make Karlsson waive his NMC.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun shared Peng’s viewpoint and also wondered how much of Karlsson’s cap hit the Sharks would be willing to absorb.
TSN: Chris Johnston reports Grier’s comments sounded like nobody is pressing for a trade here. Nevertheless, if a team approached the Sharks GM about Karlsson he would at least be open to that conversation. Johnston suggested that might be worth watching closely near the March 3 trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Grier’s comments were bound to cause a stir in the rumor mill. Karlsson’s impressive performance this season already prompted some media musings about whether he’d get shopped this season.
We can’t rule anything out but it’s not going to be easy to make that move. Karlsson has to agree to waive his NMC and so far there’s no indication he wants out of San Jose. That could change if the club is on pace to miss the playoffs and Grier tells him they’re going to rebuild.
If Karlsson agrees to get traded, it will also depend on whether the Sharks retain part of his cap hit and how much of it they’re willing to absorb. They did retain 33 percent ($2.72 million) of Burns’ $8 million cap hit. However, they’re only carrying that dead cap space through 2024-25.
Any amount they retain up to 50 percent ($5.75 million) of Karlsson’s cap hit will be two years beyond ’24-’25. I daresay interested clubs will want the Sharks to retain half.
It could prove difficult to move Karlsson during the season. Such a deal might have to wait until the offseason when teams have more cap space and tradeable assets to work with.
THE SENATORS ACTIVELY SHOPPING FOR A DEFENSEMAN
NHL.COM: Shawn P. Roarke reports Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said he’s “very active” looking to see what’s available in the trade market to help his club. They’ve short two defensemen with Thomas Chabot and Artem Zub currently sidelined by injuries.
“I think we’re just going to keep looking,” said Dorion. “If we can add externally, we’ll look at that.” He also joked that he was among the most popular people at the recent general managers’ meeting.
He indicates the Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets and Los Angeles Kings are among the clubs believed to have had talks with the Coyotes. The asking price is high, said to start with two first-round picks and a high-end prospect.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If there was a reasonable deal for a decent defenseman to be had, I think Dorion would’ve made it by now. As for Chychrun, I doubt the Coyotes will start getting any serious offers until he’s had several games under his belt without any lingering effects from his wrist surgery. Whether the Senators will be among the bidders remains to be seen.
And no, the Senators aren’t going to make a bid for Karlsson. His age, cap hit and asking price rule that out plus I don’t think he’ll have a hankering to return to Ottawa. If he waives his NMC, it’ll likely be to join a legitimate playoff contender.