NHL Rumor Mill – July 27, 2023
The Sharks are having difficulty moving Erik Karlsson plus the latest on the Capitals in today’s NHL Rumor mill.
SHARKS HAVING DIFFICULTY MOVING ERIK KARLSSON
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli recently reported that the San Jose Sharks are still looking for a significant return for Erik Karlsson in the trade market. However, they haven’t found a team willing to pay anywhere close to what they want for the 33-year-old defenseman.
Seravalli claims the interested clubs are sitting back and waiting for the Sharks to call them back when they’re ready to resume discussions. They aren’t willing to pay anything significant for Karlsson.
The Sharks believe they need to get a return for Karlsson. They don’t want to get nothing and retain 20 percent of his remaining cap hit just to get him off their books. Seravalli thinks they’re not properly valuing the salary-cap space, the freedom and flexibility from getting off an $11.5 million player.
I discount the Leafs because they’re already over the cap ceiling and still have to get cap compliant after putting goaltender Matt Murray on long-term injury reserve. The Hurricanes’ recent signing of defenseman Tony DeAngelo likely takes them out of the bidding.
The Penguins are the club most often linked to Karlsson and reportedly remain the most confident in landing him. We’ve heard nothing from the Kraken. That doesn’t mean they aren’t interested but I think they’re content to stick with their current roster-building program.
My theory about the Penguins is they could be waiting until after Drew O’Connor’s arbitration situation has been resolved.
The Sharks will have to retain part of Karlsson’s hefty cap hit whether it’s a trade with just one team or a three-team deal to spread his cap hit around. As Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman pointed out earlier this month, how much they’re willing to retain will determine the quality of the return.
LATEST CAPITALS SPECULATION
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Remy Mastey noted a recent report indicating Evgeny Kuznetsov had requested a trade from the Washington Capitals earlier this year. He believes the Arizona Coyotes should look into acquiring the 31-year-old center.
Mastey believes the Coyotes need to add a bonafide top-six center. He thinks Kuznetsov could address that need, pointing to his playoff experience which he can use to mentor younger Coyotes such as Clayton Keller, Matias Maccelli and Barrett Hayton.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuznetsov carries an average annual value of $7.8 million through 2024-25 along with a 10-team no-trade clause. While he might welcome a trade he might not have rebuilding teams like the Coyotes on his radar.
Besides, Kuznetsov might not be the type of player that fits into general manager Bill Armstrong’s rebuilding plans. He’s a talented playmaker and the Coyotes can afford his salary but he’s been inconsistent in recent years and has had some off-ice issues in the past.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Jared Sarre recently listed four players the Capitals should target to improve their top-six forward depth. He listed the Toronto Maple Leafs’ William Nylander, the Philadelphia Flyers’ Travis Konecny and the San Jose Sharks’ Kevin Labanc as trade options and winger Tomas Tatar as a free-agent target.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tatar is the easiest option of the bunch. However, they can’t afford to add a free agent without shedding some salary via trade or demotion.
The Leafs aren’t in any hurry to move Nylander and the same goes for the Flyers with Konecny. They aren’t available right now unless the Capitals are willing to pony up a significant return for either guy.
Labanc would be much more affordable in terms of return and the Sharks would probably entertain an offer for him. However, Washington’s limited cap space means the Sharks would have to retain part of his $4.725 million cap hit. Considering they’re facing that scenario with Karlsson they’re unlikely to be receptive toward doing the same for Labanc even if it is just for this season.