NHL Rumor Mill – June 19, 2023

by | Jun 19, 2023 | Rumors | 32 comments

A look at some teams that might be interested in trading for Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng speculated over 10 possible 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.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

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.

Four of Peng’s trade destinations – the Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs – have previously shown an interest in Karlsson.

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.

Peng included the Buffalo Sabres, noting their rumored interest in Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce.

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.


  1. I have repeatedly said that the Sharks should keep him. For purely the entertainment value. He’s really not getting in the way of their rebuild. Everyone they’re bringing in are rookies or cheap contracts until they’re ready in a couple years from now. By then he’ll be either on LTIR or still playing reasonably well or more easily traded with less on the deal. They still need to ice a team and they still need to reach the cap floor. After the 23/24 season they’ll be at roughly 40 million spent on like 5 players. All those contracts are crap but they still need to ice a team until say 25\26 when the light at the end of the tunnel starts to shine. I guess the only reason to trade him now is because he just won the Norris, again. He’s a one man show. Keep him.

  2. new Sens owner has been talking to Alfreddson about a decision making spot in the organization, maybe Alfie can convince Karlsson to return home.

    Don’t see Yzerman acquiring Karlsson, but rather another goalie and a goal scorer (Debrincat?)

    Oilers would only be able to get Karlsson if the Sharks take Campbell and Yamamoto

  3. To EDM: Karlsson and a 7th rd pick

    To SJ: 2nd this year, 1st next year, Broberg, Yamamoto, Foegle, Campbell and a top prospect

    EDM signs vet to backup

    Campbell goes from cold winter to sunny beaches

    • To Wash: Karlsson and a 5th round pick
      To SJ: Ovi, Wilson and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

      • Pb

        No way caps giving up on Jelly 🤡

  4. Most of the teams on the Karlsson list are ridiculous, as Lyle points out (somewhat more diplomatically). Especially the Leafs, with their lack of cap space and thinness in future assets. They would have to move out a core 4 piece or Morgan Reilly to do so. As for the Sabres, at their stage, better off letting the young D-men, Power and Dahlin, lead the way than offer up assets. Detroit May be the best possibility. Or maybe Seattle. But it’s buyer beware. He’s 33 years old and had missed much time to injury in the years preceding this past season. Being bitten by the injury bug may be more likely than another monster year.

  5. 50% or a non starter for E.Karlsson. At that risk level a big maybe. Not enough money in the league except for those teams he won’t approve a trade. Can’t see this happening . PT Barnum “ a sucker born every minute” so never say never

  6. Lamoriello has always swung for the fences (Kovalchuk),and considering how bad the Isles PP was this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if they acquired Karlsson. But I can’t see how the team can make it work under the cap

    Leafs won’t be getting Karlsson, they need devote their resources towars Matthews.
    Panthers will just work on adding more depth

    Sabres have Dahlin and Powers, they need to select their starting goalie (Levi, Lukkonen, someone else?), they won’t get Karlsson

    • Buffalo might finally make the playoffs if they made add more on the lines of Saros and McDonagh.

    • What about

      To SJ: Bailey, JGP and a 1st next year and 3rd this year

      To NYI: Karlsson

      Will leave Lou around 4m to fill in 3c and back up goalie

      Rest can promote from within

      Move Brock to 2Lw with Barzal as 2c and Wahlstrom as 2rw

      Horvat to 1c with Palms and Lee

      Sj can flip JGP to COL for picks as JGP is upgrade to Compher and under contract and I think can handle 2c role

    • I agree about Isles. Not counting Parise who’s ufa, they’ve got 8 players 30 and over. Sure they need scoring, but why not from backend. I don’t think Lou is as concerned about future as other GM’s might be. If they can move Bailey and SJ retains a chunk, it could work.

      • I’ll add: Lou just gave 28 year old Horvat an 8 year extension. He’ll turn 36 at end of 8th season. EK has 4 years left and turns 37 at end of 4th season. His cap hit is 3mil more than Horvats. Assuming SJ retains at least that much, and Isles let Mayfield walk, I can see Lou looking into this.

      • Slick Karlsson would assuredly boost their PP and not force Barzal to drive the process

        Allows Barzal to shoot more too not needing to be the puck handler on the pp

        Karlsson also helps in Dobsons development since he is offensively minded

        Win for NYI and SJ

  7. Ya. The obvious thing for the Leafs would be to do a straight Tavares for Karlsson and maybe another piece coming back to T.O. But both men have iron clad no movement clauses and JT isn’t goin to approve that trade even for the tax implications and sunny weather.

    I don’t know how I’d feel about him returning to Ottawa. I watched him live for years. He is an amazing talent. He will give his all in the playoffs. I’ve seen it. But we have new leadership. We have a new direction. I’m not sure bringing in an ego of that magnitude helps our young core.

    Even if you get the money sorted. What are your pairs?

    Karlsson and Chabbot
    Chychrun and Sanderson
    Zub and Brannstrom
    Hamonic ?

    …now that I type that out. I don’t mind the look of it.

    • Debrincat and 2024 2nd and NYR 7th for Karlsson ($4M retained) and 2023 2nd.
      (The pick switch is so the Sens have a decent draft pick this year)

  8. Karlsson to Buffalo would boost their already offensively gifted team to the stratosphere!
    That and a vet goalie would propel them easily into the play-offs!
    Karlsson ($4M retained) for 2024 1st, 2023 Philly 2nd, Jokiharju, Olafsson (cap purposes)
    Not the greatest return for a Norris trophy winner, but he is 33 and injury prone!

  9. Not that I think it’s a real high possibility, but you brought up Dubas interest, and maybe PIT would like another dynamic D to make things easier on Letang and to have redundancy in case of injury – esp important given how much they suck when Letang it out. Anyway…what about Grandlund + #14 + Pickering for Karlsson (at 5mil retained => cap hit of 5.5) + SJS #36.

    Given how hard it will be to deal Karlsson and the depth of this year’s draft…maybe possible to pull off? If so, SJ gets 2 solid prospects, PIT gets scarier and only increases cap hit by $500k…maybe with change of scenery and more playing time Granlund increases value and SJ can flip him at the deadline for mid round pick…

  10. As a lifelong Isles fan no way do I want Karlsson. He is older than dirt. And had a career year and his salary is laughable. No one should take this trainwreck.Lou should be fired if he makes this move. Get real people.

    • He would be the best player on the Isles immediately and it wouldn’t be particularly close.

    • Pete you rather keep Bailey than add Karlsson?? Really???

      Only team taking Bailey off your hands is AZ and it’ll cost more than a 1st with nothing coming back

      Why not add Karlsson?

      You do want to compete in the ever growing any competitive East?

      NJ is going to be a powerhouse and CAR isn’t going anywhere

      Horvat is not the answer

  11. Given the term and dollars on Karlsson contract.

    What is a realistic return San Jose can expect.

    Heard one rumor of Detroit acquiring at $8.5 then flipping him at the till and retaining salary.

    Let’s go further Detriot then brings in a third team at the tdl and the recieving team gets Karlsson at $2,125,000 for 3.5 seasons

    • I do not think SJ can ask for much considering the massive cap and his age as a combination

      Above I put EDM and NYI proposals

      Let me know if reasonable or not for a starting point for conversations

      Sj needs a 1st or top prospect to save face moving Norris winning Karlsson but at his age saving the remaining 44$million by moving him is more important in this economy IMO

      • 11.5 is a lot but a potentially 3-time norris winner at 6.5M, locked up with term is going to be worth a lot.
        Have a look at what Nurse and Seth Jones got paid.

        They’ll get a haul for 40% retained.

        We live in a world where a (rumoured) first rounder was being offered for Josh Anderson at 5.5M and by comparison he’s accomplished nothing.

      • @taz

        Anderson hasn’t accomplished anything but I think the 1st is bc he has term on a very affordable cap hit

        Allows cap wiggle room where Karlsson is over 11m and it hinders balancing a team out

        Anderson is also younger and when healthy, though streaky, is a semi power forward.

        A 1st for old and previous serious injury Karlsson is a bigger gamble for teams that aren’t true cup contenders

        Few teams have cap space to fit Karlsson and are true cup contenders


        Think SJ should take less to free up cap fast to weaponize the space to gain more assets like AZ has been doing

        Vegas was the first team to win the cup with a player making over 10m a yr

      • @IHF
        No argument that at 11.5 EK is a huge gamble, for this reason I said EK at 40% retained would bring in a haul.
        40% retained brings the CV to 6.9, which is a steal for EK and the Sharks will be paid for that asset.

      • They already have retention on Burns so I was leaning in the direction avoid retention on Karlsson at all costs by taking a smaller package. It gives them cap flexibility to weaponize it over the next few seasons to get more assets in the long run

        You are correct in saying a 40% retention would garner nice offers but IMO the wrong long term move by SJ

  12. What about

    To SJ: Debrincat in 8yr sign and trade & Forementon

    To OTT: LeBanc, Ferraro and NJ 1st

    • Then trade

      To CAR: Couture
      To SJ: KK & Drury


      To NYI: Karlsson
      To SJ: Bailey, JGP 2nd this year 1st next


      To COL: JGP
      To SJ: Girard

      All teams win???

      Sj doesn’t need to retain on Karlsson win
      SJ gets younger win
      COL gets 2C and retains cap space win
      NYI sheds Bailey and gets PP QB and more offense win
      OTT gets a first back for Debrincat and a young coat controlled good D for prime years WIN

    • DeBrincat wants to play close to home, He’s not signing long term with a team under a massive rebuild. And Formenton is under criminal investigation with his involvement in the Canadian hockey scandal.

      • Think DET wants to sign him? I don’t see him as a Yzer guy

        He will want more than Larkin and that just IMO isn’t in the Yzer cards

        And as for Forementon all SJ would be is acquiring his rights. Do not need to sign him until all actual facts come to the forefront

  13. Karlsson to Ottawa for Debrincat and one of the following prospects: Boucher, Greig or Ostapchuk. SJ retains $3m per year of Karlsson’s contract. If Debrincat walks in a year (which is likely) they have him for a year(a contract year = goals), they get a prospect, and they are out from Karlsson’s contract (except for the $3m which justifies the high end prospect). Ottawa gets a premium D, who will sell tickets, they dispose of the Debrincat headache, and they also like contracts that they pay less than the listed cap value (see Karlsson’s contract which which was somewhat front end loaded)

    • RD/man Eric KKarlsson is not going back to ottawa…
      Ottawa to 4 is set….
      plus his salary is way to high⁉️
      who ever takes EK…. SJ need to retain 40%of his salary

      Waiting in the Sens Farm Team are 2 good young RD/men
      22yr old Bernard-Docker
      22 yr old Lassi Thomson

      I think the sens will want picks 1,st & 2.nd & 3rd back in return for the cat🤔
      it could be a 3 way trade… i think we are going to see lots ,ore 3 way trade’s this year and going forward

      Top destanations, that have picks and younger prospects players that could make it work
      There are lots of teams out there that dont or cant aford to pay one more guy $$8.M to $9.M and get the rest of the players signed to a 23 man roster… its really bad this year‼️