Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 19, 2023
Is there a way the Oilers could acquire the Sharks’ Erik Karlsson in the offseason? What are the priorities facing Daniel Briere as the Flyers’ general manager? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
COULD THE OILERS LAND ERIK KARLSSON THIS SUMMER?
While the 32-year-old defenseman is enjoying a career year and was the subject of trade speculation, his $11.5 million average annual value through 2026-27 proved too difficult to move before the March 3 trade deadline. Given Karlsson’s age, Duhatschek doesn’t expect his contract will age well, making him harder to trade and more difficult to get actual value in return.
The Edmonton Oilers were the only club to seriously look into acquiring Karlsson. Duhatschek wondered if trading Jack Campbell and his $5 million AAV to the Sharks might make it possible for the Oilers to accommodate Karlsson’s contract. The Sharks are rebuilding and their goaltending hasn’t been great. Playing in San Jose might give Campbell the opportunity to turn his career around in a relatively stress-free environment.
Duhatschek proposed the Sharks retain around $2 million annually of Karlsson’s cap hit. The Oilers could then part with two or three young assets the Sharks would be looking for, such as Phillip Broberg and Xavier Bourgault.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that Duhatschek is merely spitballing here. On its face, it seems like a sensible proposal.
Karlsson might be willing to join the Oilers and play with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, perhaps becoming the missing piece that finally puts them over the top. The Sharks would get most of Karlsson’s salary off their books and receive some long-term assets to help with their rebuild. They would also get a starting goalie in the short term who might regain his form playing for a rebuilding club where the spotlight won’t be as harsh.
However, this deal depends on whether the Sharks will retain some of Karlsson’s cap hit and their willingness to take the struggling Campbell off the Oilers’ hands. If the answer is no, we can forget about seeking Karlsson skating on the Edmonton blueline next season.
WHAT ARE THE PRIORITIES FACING FLYERS GM DANIEL BRIERE?
THE SCORE: John Matisz recently looked at what could be the high-level priorities on the to-do list for Philadelphia Flyers general manager Daniel Briere if he’s named their full-time GM following this season.
Matisz believes Briere must attempt to acquire another 2023 first-round draft pick or an early second-rounder. He suggested shopping defensemen Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim but felt peddling Carter Hart and Travis Konecny could be complicated and carry more downside.
Offloading the contracts of Kevin Hayes and Rasmus Ristolainen is another priority. Hayes is not head coach John Tortorella’s favorite player plus he’s a salary-dump candidate given his age and contract. Matisz admits trading Ristolainen and his $5.1 million AAV through 2026-27 would be challenging.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Briere last week indicated he’s committed to a rebuild but that doesn’t mean a roster fire sale. Hayes and Provorov seem the most likely to be moved. Sanheim could be peddled but I think he might fit into Briere’s long-term plans.
I agree with Matisz about the complications of moving Hart or Konecny. One or both could force the issue, especially Hart as he is a restricted free agent next year. However, they would be worth retaining if they want to be part of the solution.
Ristolainen lacks no-trade protection. However, I think there are only three ways Briere could move him and none of them are palatable. He can retain up to half of the blueliner’s cap hit, take back a toxic contract in return, or package him this summer with the Flyers’ first-round pick.