Like most of us, your Twitter feed must have been overflowing with posts that the Ottawa Senators had made a move to send their captain Erik Karlsson to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a blockbuster deal last night.
He was gone. Then, he wasn't.
The confusion went viral on social media, and this morning, we are making sense of what took place and what it means going forward. One thing is clear, the Lightning is officially the frontrunner in the Karlsson sweepstakes after it was reported for days that six teams were taking part in serious discussions to land the star defenseman. While the Lightning, Vegas Golden Knights, New York Rangers, San Jose Sharks, Columbus Blue Jackets and Dallas Stars have all spoken to the Senators about acquiring Karlsson, it seems now that one suitor is clearly leading the way.
On Thursday morning, Ottawa Sun's Don Brennan revealed that one source close to the situation was positive a deal was to be made with Tampa Bay, and things went nuts from then on.
"Because of a previous trade, the Lightning will lose their 2019 first round pick to the New York Rangers if they win the Cup next season – and the Senators would like to get one back because the Colorado Avalanche has theirs. But Yzerman can offer 20-year old defenceman Mikhail Sergachev, who was the ninth overall pick in 2016, or 22-year old centre Brayden Point, who had 32 goals and 66 points last season, along with other enticing prospects or picks," writes Brennan in the Ottawa Sun this morning.
TSN’s Shawn Simpson cited his sources telling him a Karlsson deal with Tampa Bay was done pending a trade call with the league office. However, Lightning insider Erik Erlendsson revealed that while it appears a deal may be close, there was no confirmation the trade call had been made.
Finally, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman mentioned that he was getting denials about the trade call, adding “we’ll just have to let things play out."
It’s believed a trade between the two teams would not include Bobby Ryan, who still has four years on a contract that carries an annual $7.25 million cap hit the Senators would like to lose. It has also been mentioned that a third team, the Rangers, could be involved in the deal to help the Lightning free up some cap space to take on Karlsson's new contract. However, a source said the Rangers aren’t interested in taking on Ryan as they don’t want to have that his contract preventing them from signing a player they target in free-agent market next summer.
Many people believed the Lightning would make it to the Stanley Cup final this spring, however, they were beaten in seven games in the Eastern Conference finals by the eventual champions Washington Capitals. However, the addition of Karlsson, playing alongside Norris Trophy winner Victor Hedman, would make the Lightning deadly on the blue line.
Karlsson would likely be open to such a move, where he would be united with Hedman, his friend and former Swedish junior teammate.
It sure sounds like a deal with the Lightning could officially materialized today.