NHL Rumor Mill – July 13, 2023

by | Jul 13, 2023 | Rumors | 28 comments

More Erik Karlsson trade speculation plus the latest on the Canucks in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: Sonny Sachdeva has the Pittsburgh Penguins sitting atop his list of five clubs linked to San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson. The Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators (Karlsson’s former team) round out his list.

THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe reports the Penguins came “extremely close” to acquiring Karlsson during the opening day of free agency on July 1. He writes that a deal was close to being completed that morning. Yohe also noted reports that have the Penguins and Hurricanes as the front-runners to acquire the three-time Norris Trophy winner.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski believes any trade sending Karlsson to the Penguins must include defenseman Jeff Petry and his $6.25 million average annual value going to the Sharks as part of the return. He believes there isn’t any other plausible way the Penguins can acquire another right-side defenseman and for coach Mike Sullivan to find enough ice time to justify Petry’s salary.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looking at the Penguins roster, prospect pool and cap space, they’re limited in what they can offer the Sharks. I agree that Petry would have to be part of the deal provided he’s willing to accept a trade to San Jose. The Sharks will want some sweeteners to be enticed into taking on Petry’s cap hit. I’m wondering if that potential July 1 trade involved a third team that might’ve fallen through because they couldn’t get the pieces and/or dollars to work.

The Oilers were reportedly interested in Karlsson leading up to the March trade deadline. However, their addition of Mattias Ekholm has likely taken them out of the bidding for the Sharks blueliner. They have over $5 million in cap space but most of that will be taken up re-signing restricted free agent Evan Bouchard unless he’s part of a package offer. Even then, I don’t think they can swing it.

Kyle Dubas was interested in Karlsson before he was fired as Maple Leafs general manager and has maintained his pursuit since joining the Penguins. I don’t think his replacement shares that interest. They’re pressed for cap space and signed right-side defenseman John Klingberg on July 1. Unless they’re willing to part with William Nylander (provided the Sharks aren’t on his 10-team no-trade list), I don’t think they can pull it off.

Of the teams on Sachdeva’s list, the Hurricanes appear to be in the best position to acquire Karlsson in terms of tradeable assets on the roster and within their prospect pipeline. Taking him on, however, would mean he or Brent Burns getting pushed down into second-pairing minutes. That might not sit well with Karlsson, who could invoke his no-movement clause to block this trade unless he’s guaranteed top-pairing ice time, which likely wouldn’t make Burns very happy.

Karlsson hasn’t dismissed the possibility of returning to Ottawa, where he began his career and still maintains a home. However, I think that chapter of his career is closed. The Senators have put their faith in their young talent and they seem averse to adding a budget-busting superstar approaching his mid-thirties.


THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston reports the Vancouver Canucks have a glut of wingers following their recent re-signing of Nils Hoglander. He believes two or three will have to go before their regular season opens on Oct. 11.

Johnston noted that sidelined winger Tanner Pearson is expected to be recovered in time for training camp. If he’s indeed healthy, he’ll push their list of wingers to nine, which is one more than they can dress for a game. That could result in one or two players being demoted or management works out a trade.

The only true trade candidates on the Canucks are Brock Boeser, Conor Garland and Hoglander. Johnston writes that management seems disinclined to move any of them but might not have a choice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser and Garland were fixtures in last season’s rumor mill and during the early weeks of the offseason. It could be worthwhile keeping an eye on their respective situations with the Canucks. Nevertheless, management could opt for more affordable solutions.


  1. The only way Karlsson to Ottawa works is with Chabbot going the other way. Which, I’m not entirely opposed to. Thomas has been badly managed and is burnt out. I would take back EK65 and his ego. He’s very good and put him with a steady defender and his numbers will be excellent. He simply drives play from the back end better than anyone else in the NHL.

    • I agree with that, DarkG, and if that’s all it costs, I make that deal today.

      • I think if sharks are also holding salary for that long a 1st would also have to go their way.

      • Not – a – chance

  2. E.Karlsson .
    Oilers need more offence ?
    Toronto is the definition of cap strapped .
    Canes already have the best defensive team and D core but want to reduce their plus minus ?
    It’s the Pens and Dubas needs to make his mark. However, likely talking about it for a year and a half

  3. I understand the Pens going all in again with this core. It could be a long time before they have 3 HOFers on the roster who they drafted and won 3 Cups with. Why not mortgage once more to grab EK and challenge for the Cup?
    They made the decision to resign Letang and Malkin so just go for it for EK.

    I would of let them both walk if they did not accept 4×4 deals. If they took 4×4 deals they might of had another roster cap space to contend last season

    • Does anybody really think Karlsson is that missing piece that puts Pittsburgh over the top?

      Or is it just more of the same in Pittsburgh? Another player on the wrong side of 30 on the backend of his career?

      They’re 6 years and counting from winning one playoff series. Followed by 4 straight out in the 1st round, followed by missing the playoffs altogether.

      The glass half full will say, “they only missed by 1 point! “

      But that’s exactly my point. It’s seems to be going down hill year by year.

      Karlsson isn’t that answer!

      Someone said something about having Reilly, Klingberg and Karlsson on the same team not being a good idea.

      I don’t think Letang / Karlsson is a good idea either.

      • I agree that EK and Letang doesn’t seem to be a good match.
        Neither is reuniting EK with Burns.
        I think EK rediscovered his scoring last year in part because he was the undisputed #1 in SJ (and he stayed healthy).
        For EK to maximize his value against that huge contract, he probably needs to be in a place where he is clearly the 1A option. Not sure where that is though.

      • Well Captain obvious.. i musy say i agree with you and thats scary..

        Karlsson if he play like last year he will help…he Geavesand letang can skate and control the puck.
        I think Karlsson can help our power play because no one will shoot..he helps thar ..

        Is he rhe answer no but the Penguins with graves and Karlsson are better than Petry Dumolin..

        I would rather have Matt Dumba…younger 28, cheaper, faster, tougher, better defensively + 29 to Karlssons -26

        The Penguins with Reilly smith, Ryan Graves, Lars eller, noel Accari, matt nieto

        The Penguins are definitely better and a playoff team..

        Top 6 was terrific now the bottom 6 way better Geaves will help on d

        Jarry is a coin flip would have preferred a change there
        We will see

      • I’m curious. They have moved the deck chairs around a little. Some decent pickups added, but Letang moving the puck to Malkin and Karlsson distributing to Sid makes me think of firewagon hockey. If everyone stays healthy, they could take a run. It would be fun to watch if nothing else.

      • I like the Graves pick up, and Accari. Smith a good addition as well. The rest? Meh.


        If these players can stay healthy, that is a big “if”. Typically they cannot.

        I do not see this team as deep threat. Honestly, I don’t think that they’ll even make the playoffs.

        Paper moves are paper moves. I learned a long time ago nobody wins on UFA day, deadline day or draft day.

      • Copy that, CaptainO. Aging never helps with nagging injuries and I’ve yet to see data that states Aging prevents injuries.
        The Pens are a bubble team, but as I’ve repeated on here time and again…….you just have to make it into the dance. The Panthers were damn near Belle of the ball this year, while my B’s were tossed out of the hall after losing their date.

      • Only injury I worry about the s Jarry. Both did and Malkin played all or almost all the games last year.

      • They both played 82, Letang did not. Without looking, I’d venture to say that probably hasn’t happened in the entirety of their careers (both playing 82 the same year).

        I wouldn’t bet on a repeat of that luck. But even still, with a healthy Malkin and Crosby all year they missed the playoffs.

        Asking for Malkin, Crosby, Letang and Karlsson to remain at least somewhat healthy all year, 75-78 games is probably around the same odds of me winning powerball tomorrow.

    • Pens were rocking when Federer was a Champ!
      He had retired, time for Pens to re-built.

      • Can we unretire Federer; retire Carter and Petry?

  4. Sorry, but as a Sens fan and an EK fan, I do not want him back in Ottawa. I would not be the least surprised to see his production go way off last year’s numbers. He went all out last year because nothing mattered. He was the only big star really on that team and if he scored lots it was great and if he didn’t, no one cared and it didn’t really matter.

    I see him folding as soon as he is in a situation with high expectations and high levels of teamwork expected.

  5. Dubas should be canned if he gives up 2 first rnd picks etc for 33 year old 11.5 mil per ( pens need to start stock piling imo, they’ll be competitive and might surprise, but nowhere near one aging defender away from a cup run )

    • I read somewhere that the deal on July 1 was Petry, Poulin, a 1st, and a 2nd that would become a 1st if the Pens win the cup.

      • Hi Randino

        The picks and prospects are secondary

        Petry at full tilt to SJ with EK at a min 25% retained is the main swap

        That alone has a net Cap increase to Pens of $2.4 M

        30% retained…. Net increase of $1.8 M

        The level of retention wasn’t mentioned…. If it is a 1st , a 2nd that can become a first; and Poulin…. It better be 30% retained

        Granlund bought out; any league min UFA replacing; net Cap savings from above….$1.6 M

        Waive CR, trade Rutta, bring up Friedman and Smyth…. Total savings $3.5 (so then at 23 on roster $1.2 M in space) …. Leaves…

        Tanger/Graves or Pettersson
        EK/Graves or Pettersson
        Friedman/P-O J

        A D that is leaps and bounds better than last year

        A 4th line better than last year (but much smaller)

        Top 6 output about the same

        **** but still Jack squat on 3rd line and no one that can jump up if Sid or Gino go down

        And…. Futures have been given up

        Easier approach…. Much less futures given up…

        Sign O’Connor; Buyout Granlund
        Move Petry (with sweetener… see below) retaining 25%
        Move Rutta (see below); retaining 25%
        Wave Ruhweedel
        Sign Dumba
        Bring up Friedman and Smith

        Tanger /Pettersson
        Friedman /P-OJ

        D far better than last year; not as good as with EK; and above nets $5.3 M in Cap space

        Re moving Petry….

        Petry at 37.5 % (Pens retain 25%, middle team retains 50% of that)…. Meaning Petry at Cap hit of only $2.3 M is worth a 2nd and a B prospect from the final team

        Middle team gets 2nd and B prospect from final team and 2nd from Pens (‘25)

        Similarly Rutta at 37.5 % ($1M cap hit) is worth a 3rd from final team. Middle team (for retaining 37.5% ) gets that 3rd, and a 3rd from Pens (‘26) plus a prospect not named Pickering, Smith, P-OJ, Poulin , or Yaeger

        Now Pens still have that 1st (proposed in the EK trade) and space, and Poulin, and any one of those new UFA adds…. To flip for a 3C replacement

        As always…. Granlund must be bought out regardless of any other move.

        Let Canes blow their wad on EK thus weakening them elsewhere

        In no way is Dumba near EK, but the overall strategy is better than throwing all the assets and still limited space and no third line

    • Agreed or give up prospect owen Pickering number one pick last year for penguins

      Big young talented d man.

      One 1st one second prospect sammy poulin jeff Petry and a choice of Pojoseph or ty smith ok.

      No 2 –‘ 1st round picks
      No Owen Pickering

      • Hi BnG

        Not sure why you oft tend to include P-O J in trades

        24, on the rise, barely over league min Cap hit; next deal will be a very manageable bridge. Rights owned for 4 more years after this year…. So you have to think in terms of replacement value

        Both he and Pickering should be in the very close to “untouchables” types. Yaeger as well (or they would have moved the pick in a trade or moved down to get two picks)

        I don’t like Yeager’s size; and I’m with basically all the ranking entities… I would have taken Wood instead. That said… Doobie and Pens development staff and scouts see something in Yaeger that other scouts and ranking entities didn’t…. So he shouldn’t be traded

        Dumba waaay cheaper than EK, no assets given up; ton’s more flex in Cap

        With zero other changes….Just Granlund buyout with Dumba signing…. Nil change (prob Cap savings actually) in Cap…. And team far better

  6. I can’t see EK going anywhere if SanJose is only willing to retain 20%.
    I have to wonder if EK is forced to start the year in SJ and then gets moved towards the trade deadline when teams have a better understanding of where they are in the playoff standings.

    • I think that is likely…and the cap hit is less for this year and more manageable for following years when the cap finally increases.

      although I could see EK becoming the next OEL for an unlucky team…

  7. There was a bit of a rumor discussed on ESPN St .Louis radio, earlier this week, pretty sure just speculation….
    To Ottawa E Karlsson 30% retained
    To San Jose Jordan Kyrou
    To St. Louis Thomas Chabot.

    Interesting speculation/rumor, but might be pure fan speculation.

    • Hi Brian

      That would be a win-win-lose (Sens, Blues, Sharks)

      Sens flip Chabot, get EK for almost the same Cap hit; commitment 1 less year

      Blues decrease future commitment ; basically flipping top line forward for top pairing D… about same Cap

      Sharks however, with retaining 30% on EK… effectively end up getting Kyriou at $11.5 Cap hit for 4 years; and effectively a cash outlay of $11.4 M (EK retention) and $65 M current contract on Kyriou …. That’s a total of $76.4 M (8 years)…. So cash AAV of ~ $9.6 M

      It’s hard to believe that Grier would move on that deal

      • @ Pengy…i dont hate PoJ but he is what eill n beeded to facilitate a Karlsson or any other big deal..

        Look Ty Smith out plated Poj in training camp and exhibition games..thats a facr

        Buy joeph jad no.mpre options and couldn’t b sent back down.

        Also sully loves Ty Smith who is also young and cheap.

        Look sign dumba move titta a to left side 3rd pair d or trade him use smith..

        I think du as will buyout Granlund this next buyout wi dow

        Im ok with letang petry dymba mu right sise

  8. Sorry guys shouldn’t text on the treadmill… lol