NHL Rumor Mill – June 19, 2023
A look at some teams that might be interested in trading for Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
POTENTIAL TRADE DESTINATIONS FOR ERIK KARLSSON
The 33-year-old Sharks’ defenseman’s representatives recently met with Sharks management. Both sides agreed to try and find a trade that would be acceptable for Karlsson.
All of Peng’s selections are either contenders or on the cusp of winning. He assumed the Sharks will retain between $3 million and $5.75 million of Karlsson’s $11.5 million average annual value in each of the remaining four years of his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers lack the cap space plus they acquired Mattias Ekholm at the trade deadline. I don’t see them in the bidding for Karlsson now.
The Panthers have about $10 million in cap space. Even with the Sharks retaining salary, I don’t see them having a serious interest or the depth in tradeable assets (draft picks, prospects, young NHL players) to make this happen.
Karlsson maintains a home in Ottawa and would probably welcome a return to the rising young Senators. Whether they pursue him depends on whether prospective new owner Michael Andlauer would approve of such a move. Even then, general manager Pierre Dorion might be leery of overpaying to bring an aging Karlsson back to Ottawa.
The Leafs’ previous interest occurred under former general manager Kyle Dubas. Assuming new GM Brad Treliving would also pursue Karlsson, I don’t see them having sufficient long-term cap space and the necessary assets to pull it off.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Buffalo Hockey Now’s Michael Augello lists several good reasons why he doesn’t think Karlsson’s fits with the Sabres. I will add that their priority is landing a reliable starting goaltender and perhaps a shutdown defenseman.
The Dallas Stars need more firepower on their blueline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: They also need the cap space to do it. I don’t see general manager Jim Nill getting into bidding for Karlsson.
The Detroit Red Wings are an up-and-coming team that doesn’t have as much NHL-ready young talent on their blueline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings have the cap space and the depth in assets to make this happen. General manager Steve Yzerman has yet to make a major acquisition to help his club, sticking to his rebuilding plan. Maybe he’d be willing to do it for Karlsson if he was a few years younger. I don’t think he’s willing to commit to four years even if they got him at 50 percent of his salary.
The Los Angeles Kings are full of right-handed rearguards but they lack the dynamism of Karlsson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Peng admits the Kings seem to be a long shot. They already made their big blueline move by acquiring Vladislav Gavrikov at the trade deadline and signing him to a contract extension. Most of the recent Kings trade rumors focus on Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois.
Peng includes the New York Islanders on his list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nope, sorry, I don’t see Isles GM Lou Lamoriello wanting any part of this. I’m well aware of Lamoriello’s stealthiness in the trade market but this type of move doesn’t seem like something he’d do. He seems more focused on bolstering the scoring punch among his forwards. I also don’t think Karlsson would waive his no-movement clause to join the Isles.
The Seattle Kraken round out Peng’s list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve previously mentioned the Kraken as a possible destination. They’ve got over $20 million in cap space. Even with a new contract for Vince Dunn taking a healthy bite out of it, they could still have enough for Karlsson at a reduced AAV. They’ve also got a growing pool of prospects to draw on for trade bait.
General manager Ron Francis has avoided making a big splash in the trade market, saving those moves for free agency. He probably won’t deviate from that plan this summer.
I’m not saying that a Karlsson trade is impossible. I don’t doubt that there are teams looking into it. One of the clubs on Peng’s list might be able to work out a suitable deal with Sharks general manager Mike Grier, perhaps involving a third team to make Karlsson’s AAV more affordable.
What I believe, however, is it will be difficult to do, especially with so many clubs carrying limited cap space for next season.