NHL Rumor Mill – November 17, 2022

by | Nov 17, 2022 | Rumors | 32 comments

Could the Senators attempt to bring back Erik Karlsson or are there better trade options for them with the Canadiens or Penguins? Should the Leafs target Karlsson or are there better alternatives to address their defense? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculating the Sharks may have had conversations with the Ottawa Senators regarding Erik Karlsson. In 2018, the Senators traded Karlsson to the Sharks, who signed him to an eight-year contract with an average annual value of $11.5 million.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Karlsson has never lost his affection for the city of Ottawa and he and his family still maintain a home there. With the 32-year-old defenseman enjoying the best start of his career, Sharks general manager Mike Grier earlier this week indicated he was willing to entertain offers for the blueliner.

Peng points out that trading Karlsson will be difficult given how few teams can afford his contract, which also contains a full no-movement clause. He also noted that Friedman doubted the Senators could afford to do so even if the Sharks agreed to retain 50 percent of Karlsson’s cap hit. That’s because they still want to re-sign winger Alex DeBrincat and defenseman Artem Zub.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Grier’s comments combined with Senators GM Pierre Dorion telling reporters he’s still actively shopping for a defenseman prompted some folks to suggest a reunion with Karlsson. If the Sens had more long-term cap space perhaps there would be a possibility, assuming that Karlsson would waive his NMC to return to Ottawa.

The Senators have $21.7 million of cap space for 2023-24 if the cap only rises by $1 million as originally projected with just 10 players under contract. DeBrincat, Zub and Shane Pinto will eat up a big chunk of that cap room as well as pending UFA goaltender Cam Talbot if they attempt to re-sign him. If not, replacing Talbot could also prove to be expensive.

There is also the question of the Sharks’ asking price. They’re not going to just give Karlsson away, especially if they have to retain a portion of his cap hit to facilitate a trade. They’ll want a decent return, perhaps in the form of a package containing a first-round pick, a high-end prospect and a promising young player like Pinto or Jake Sanderson. And if it becomes a three-team trade to spread the cap hit around, that third team will also want a sweetener.


TVA SPORTS: Louis Jean wondered why the Senators didn’t attempt to sign David Savard in 2021 when he became an unrestricted free agent. He felt the 32-year-old rearguard would’ve been a perfect complement for Thomas Chabot.

Savard is currently signed with the Montreal Canadiens through 2024-25 with an AAV of $3.5 million. Jean wondered if Dorion might put in a call to Habs GM Kent Hughes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible, I suppose, but I don’t see that call taking place. If Dorion wasn’t interested in Savard in 2021, he’s probably not interested now.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski recently wondered if the Penguins and Senators could become trade partners. In addition to needing defensemen, the Senators could use some help at center with Josh Norris sidelined until at least January with a shoulder injury.

Kingerski suggested Brian Dumoulin and Jeff Carter as short-term options for the Senators since both are slated to become UFAs next summer. Other options could include center Teddy Blueger and defensemen such as Mark Friedman or Ty Smith.

In return, Kingerski suggested the Senators part with Alex Formenton. The Sens have until Dec. 1 to sign the RFA winger or he’ll become ineligible to play in the NHL this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators could be on Dumoulin’s 10-team no-trade list and I don’t see Carter agreeing to waive his no-movement clause to go to Ottawa. If Dorion were interested in the Penguins’ defensemen I believe he’d prefer Marcus Pettersson or Pierre-Olivier Joseph than Friedman or Smith.


TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos proposed a way for the Maple Leafs to acquire Erik Karlsson. “Could the Leafs get the Sharks to take (Jake) Muzzin’s contract back, retain salary, and build a deal around top prospect Matthews Knies?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Why would the Sharks want Muzzin’s contract? He’s earning a $5.6 million AAV through 2024-25 with a full no-trade clause this season. They could agree to that if the Leafs are taking Karlsson’s full cap hit through 2026-27 off their books, assuming Muzzin agrees to be shipped to the Sharks.

I’m assuming the “retain salary” bit refers to the Sharks’ absorbing part of Karlsson’s $11.5 million AAV. However, if they’re taking on Muzzin’s contract, why would they retain any part of Karlsson’s cap hit? Sorry, I don’t see that happening.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli lists six trade options for the Leafs to replace Muzzin by using his placement on long-term injured reserve to acquire a defenseman.

The Anaheim Ducks’ John Klingberg tops Seravalli’s list, followed by the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Vladislav Gavrikov and the Los Angeles Kings’ Matt Roy. The Seattle Kraken’s Carson Soucy and the Washington Capitals’ Nick Jensen or Dmitry Orlov round out the list. He also suggested keeping an eye on the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those defensemen likely won’t be available until close to the March 3 trade deadline.

Klingberg isn’t a shutdown blueliner like Muzzin so I don’t see him as a good fit for the Leafs. Gavrikov could be a better option but I think the Jackets intend to re-sign him.

Seravalli points out the Kings have a surplus of defensemen and Roy has another year on his contract. However, they could be reluctant to part with him given his adaptability and ability to play big minutes. Seravalli also admitted Soucy might not be available yet given the Kraken have exceeded expectations thus far this season. I agree that he could be an intriguing option if the Kraken are out of playoff contention by March and looking to sell.

The Capitals could go into sell mode if they’re out of a playoff berth before the March trade deadline. However, I see them improving as their injury-ravaged roster gets healthier, which could put Jensen or Orlov out of reach. As for Dumba, his status could depend on where the Wild are in the standings as March approaches.


  1. Boy, with some of these proposed trades being bandied about you can tell Christmas is approaching. Savard? He wouldn’t even rate ahead of the 7 they have up now?

    And Pittsburgh can keep that proposed pile of chafe. I agree with Lyle – talk Joseph and I’m sure Dorion would listen.

    The Sharks are supposed to take Muzzin to make it easier for the Leafs to absorb Karlsson? I suppose, if Ottawa were interested, the Sharks would also take Zaitsev’s contract to make it easier for Dorion to do the same. No wonder Kypreos was dumped.

    • I am not agitated that you don’t see value in Savard, George, and I don’t see the Habs trading him. The reason they won’t is that unlike you, they value Savard who, IMO, is far better than your dismissal of him.

      He has logged some big minutes for the Habs whilst mentoring a young Guhle, facing teams’ better forwards and is still a 0 for+/-. Not so shabby on a rebuilding team.

      Normally you are fair in your assessments. I think you missed the mark here.

      • LJ, on reflection, that was a bit harsh and overboard, and I’m sorry it came out that way. It was more a reaction to Louis Jean’s assertion that he “would have been a perfect partner at RD alongside Chabot.” In other words, he’s better overall than Zub. And that is just nonsense.

        One thing Savard is not, and that is physical. Even the Montreal fans – probably the most astute in the game – got on him hard last season for his lack of physicality.

        He was a 4th round pick by Columbus who, in dealing him to Detroit, had to retain half his cap hit in order to get Brian Lashoff. Detroit then flipped him to TB – with more of his cap hit retain -for a 2021 4th round pick – even while TB was sending Columbus a 1st round and a 3rd pick for Lashoff. After playing 14 games with TB he was then allowed to walk as a UFA – signed by Montreal to a 4-year $14 mil deal.

        He would not replace Zub on the 1st pairing nor Hamonic (also physical) beside Sanderson on the 2nd pairing. That leaves the 3rd pairing and he’s way too costly for that slot.

        As I keep trying to illustrate, Ottawa’s D is NOT as in dire need of a trade as their overall goal differential of +1 in 16gp (55gf – 54ga) shows – indeed, it’s significantly better than a dozen teams. Their “problem” is a lack of imagination from behind the bench.

      • George, did you know that Lashoff never moved and was a paper transaction? Tampa immediately “loaned” Lash back to Grand Rapids. 😎

      • No apology necessary, George.

        Another thing Savard is not: offensive. I have no opinion of Ottawa’s D, so I can’t comment further.

        I know you have not been keen on DJ Smith. Sometimes a coaching change works (St Louis for Ducharme, even though Ducharme got the Habs to the final), sometimes it does not: witness Boudreau for Green.

        The Sens added some nice players this year. Sometimes it takes a while for chemistry to develop. IMO the Sens are a few years away from being legit Cup contenders, so patience will do you and me both good for the next while.

      • And they gave up a 1st and a 3rd for THAT?

    • Hi George

      Agree Pens/Sens trade to bring Sens a D-man is a huge longshot

      Dorion would want P-O J…. and there is no way HexBurkie should be moving him unless an LD of equal or greater (in a package deal) value comes back. Sens looking for D …l not looking to swap and lose in current D playing value. It’s Pettersson then P-O J on the Pens LD depth chart…. And D already struggling

      IF (huge if ) Dumo does not have Sens on his veto list…. would Dorion take a struggling (former top pairing) D man …. Note @ $4.1 M????

      And…. If it is Formenton coming back…. HexBurkie should realistically ask for Sens to sign him 1st…. (1) for Cap/cost certainty and (2) if (HUGE IF…. Certainly not judging here) it turns out that he was involved in theWJ case, AND if (again no judging here) he did do something illegal…. Then HexBurkie can fall on the “well we didn’t sign him, Dorion did” sword

      So….. veeeeeerrrrrrrrrry unlikely there is a deal there

      I actually think Karllsson back as a Sen (even though very low probability) has more legs than a Dumo/Formenton swap

      Waive Dumo…. Sens pick him up…. More chance at that

      • Pengy, if the Penguins waive Dumoulin I seriously doubt Dorion would even give it a second glance before passing. They don’t need a LD – especially one making $3.1 million more than he’s worth.

      • Top Priority for the Sens is a RD….in there 2nd paring if they can keep Zub
        after the 3 oldest Defencmen on the Sens,

        The *2 Old UFA wont be back
        *Travis Hamonic, 32 yr old
        *Nick Holden, 35 year old
        Nikita Zaitsev, 31yr old, he will be used as a Salary dump in a Trade & your left with a very young Defence group

        EK could very well fit in the
        2nd pair RD with LD Jake Sanderson…🤔😜
        1st pair RD Zub & LD Chabot✔️
        3rd pair LD Brännström & RD Erik Brännström✔️

        They would need to add one more UFA to this group to be the 6`7th d/man around the $1.M to $1.5M Mark

        the group coming back at Free agency is
        Very Very Young…

        20 yr old LD Jake Sanderson (looks like a Stud)
        22 yr old RD Jacob Bernard-Docker,
        23yr old LD-RD Erik Brännström,
        25 yr old RD Zub
        25 yr old Ld Chabot

        After the d or at the same time, Start looking for a Starting goaltender 29 and younger

      • @Pengy..Pe gui s playing better 4 – 1 -1 last 6 with victories at Minnesota and shiut out @ Winnipeg.
        Must win to ight ar Chicago games we have let slip..
        Rutra is +9 Peterson seems to be calming down Leturover and Petty + 1

        Letang Rust both -11
        Joseph finall seems to b sticking with Petry.

        When the penguins won cups we had three goid centers
        Stahl 2009
        ,Bonino 2016/ 2017

        Move carter to wing or move him out

        Anaheim’s Adam Henrique is a perfect 3rd line center for the Penguins..
        6 goals 3 assists 9 points in 16 games.
        5 time 20 goal scorer, scored 18, 19, and 30 other times, quick INTELLIGENT good shot, skater good face off guy.

        Only two years left @ $5.5 which is the Penguins realistic window..mKe it work

        Kapanen a pick or prospect Anaheim retains just $ 1 million.

        Max domi is another guy wow he has played so well the last 6 games only 27 @ $3 million wat h him tonight vs Penguins goid fit third line speed skill shot has an edge

    • Hard pass on Formenton and his potential legal baggage.

    • Why would anyone want Karlsson..he is an orange traffic cone on defense at $11.5 million..no thanks

      Ottawa Pittsburgh trade partners nope they dont have anything we need.

  2. Karlsson. “32 year old defenceman”. With a history of injuries. No thanks!

  3. These so called hockey analysts are so full of it Toronto could trade for this guy or that guy but not probably until the march trade deadline. At that date the Leaf s will either be in the hunt or not and will have little or no interest in any kind of a trade .

  4. As I said, Karlsson to NJ makes sense if the cap rises more than 1m. I also think that if there is one place Karlsson would accept a trade to its Tampa, cant see that possible though

    • Kent, Fitz will not give up any assets for that cap hit and injury history. Fitz has made no bone headed moves yet, so I doubt he would start with this one. If anything, Fitz will be looking to move out some Dmen (Severson or Graves), depending on their record at the TDL.

  5. I thought i seen bad trade proposals on here. These suggestions are from so called professionals. Anything for click bait, i guess.

    First question is how much salary is Grier willing to have on his books for the next 4yrs? Any return will depend on how much is held back.

    Why would a third team get involved, would have to be significant if you’re going to have a cap hit for 4yrs.

    Cap is supposed to go up significantly in a couple of years. Might have to wait.

    Karlsson would make any team better, comes with it risk.

  6. Oh, yes, the Jackets are going to trade one of the two uninjured defensemen who were starters on opening day and the only one with more than a year’s experience. And just what is the return? A broken goalie stick, a bag of used pucks and two rolls of toilet paper? When the Hell are these pundits going to figure out that Doug MacLean hasn’t been the Jackets GM for over a decade?

    • Columbus should stay the course, win the lottery and then they’ll be set down the middle for all of eternity with Bedard and Sillinger.

      • Don’t forget about Johnson as a future C with CLB. High end offensive skill and vision. There is a reason he went 5th overall in the same draft as Sillinger. Plus when you score the game winner in OT for Canada in the World Jr’s, you gotta root for him.
        The term silky mitts definitely applies to this guy. Krecji like but with better wheels.

      • Absolutely, Ray. He’s a fine young player. I certainly wasn’t discounting him.
        Round out the 4th line spot with Boone Jenner and they’re a dominant team.

    • LOL. Now, now Paul … I like Doug Maclean – good, funny analyst when he and Kypreos were working together on Hockey Central At Noon.

      Horrible GM, I’ll grant you so I guess the analogy is accurate.

      You notice Seravalli never mentions what he thought the Leafs would have to fork over to get someone like Gavrikov … but if he or any of the others do, it’s always names like Engvall, Kampf, Aston-Reese, Holl, Simmonds, Mete … but never Knies, Robertson, Niemala – oh no, they’re untouchable.

      • George,
        Gavvy might be available at the TDL, since the Jackets have between three and five (depending on whose opinion you’re reading/listening to) high end defensemen prospects in the system. But I think that Bean &/or Boqvist would be available before Gavvy, since Gavrikov is the sole experienced shutdown defenseman currently on the roster. Peeke is getting there, but needs more experience and a little more muscle. And if any of the pundits who keep trying to trade away Jackets players for a bag of peanuts would cure their cranial-anal insertion syndrome and actually look at who is in the Jackets’ system, they’d realize how dumb their suggestions are.

  7. Carter is signed through next season.

  8. Looking at Buffalo Defence… They could us EK. and all there cap room. $22.5M..❗️

    The Sharks are going to have to retain at least 40%+ of Erik Karlsons salary for the next 4 years if they want to trade him, thats a $7.4Million salary hit the new team will take on EK…..
    keep a eye on buffalo🤔

    I always though Ottawa would be Erik Karlsons destantion but with RD man Zub needing to be re signed and he is only 27 yrs old, maybe about the $5-6 Million salary range
    maybe the sens go after a cheaper RD man to fill out there top 4
    that will give time to the 3 young guys time to develop
    20 yr old LD Jake Sanderson (looks like a Stud)
    22 yr old RD Jacob Bernard-Docker,
    23yr old LD-RD Erik Brännström,

    After That the Sens need a Starting Goaltender❓ Thatcher Demko in Vancouver would be a great fit and right age for the sens
    but it would cost a bundle 4 items..?

    -1st in this years draft top 3 or 5 protected…
    -LW Alex Formenton a potentail top 6 winger
    Salary dump in Nikita Zaitsev $4.5 M to make the money work
    and a Good Defence prospect from the AHL?
    Tomas Hamara, Lassi Thomson or Maxence Guénette ⁉️

  9. This is all a product of too many sports channels and hockey analysts…they ALL need to spend time coming up with stories and scenarios.

    What gets me is how they think A) every player wants to come to Toronto and B) Toronto has some magic cap space wand to make it all possible.

    Anyway, Karlsson is not going to be in Ontario.

    • Well, he might theSaint – he does maintain a home in Ottawa – but it won’t be playing hockey.

      • Touche!

    • Hi the Saint

      So very very true re A & B….. certainly some want to come to T.O…… most (heavy side of most)….. Nyet

      Magic cap space… certainly they can conjour up/manipulate to “squeak out” a million….., but……several million needed for the “history making” trade……. Mmmmmmmethinks….nyet

      • flyers have a few ltir contracts to trade. 🙂

  10. David Savard is having a very good season though a case can be made that he may not last the season with all the minutes he’s getting.

    He seems to be relishing the mentor role he’s filling and would be top 4 on most teams in the East…..and he doesn’t get injured.

    Like I said the other some fans over-evaluate their own team’s players.

    Betting folks aren’t laughing at TML signing Jordie Benn now.

  11. Karlsson would never join a team with Mike Hoffman on it…