Many people have come to terms with this: Senators captain Erik Karlsson appears to be on his way out of Ottawa. Senators general manager Pierre Dorion revealed on Sunday that the team offered their star defenseman a contract extension as soon as they could on July 1st, but have reportedly since given potential suitors the right to negotiate with Karlsson in hopes of landing a better return in a trade.
While the Vegas Golden Knights, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers, San Jose Sharks, Columbus Blue Jackets and Dallas Stars have all spoken to the Senators about acquiring Karlsson, it seems that one suitor is clearly leading the way.
As of Thursday morning, many pundits have revealed that the Lightning are close to winning the sweepstakes, as one source has told an NHL insider, who informed Ottawa Sun's Don Brennan, that he is "very comfortable" with the report sending Karlsson to Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay was very involved in trying to land coveted free agent John Tavares a couple of days ago. The focus now shifts to Karlsson and it seems to be going quickly.
According to the information provided by Sportsnet, a return could cost Bolts general manager Steve Yzerman his "2019 first-round pick to offer, as well as a bevy of prospects to include, starting with Anthony Cirelli, Cal Foote, or Taylor Raddysh."
"Salary constraints would be the biggest issue — the club would likely need to offload the likes of Tyler Johnson or Ryan Callahan, both carrying cap hits over $5 million. However, in terms of enticing Dorion, it would likely be younger names like Mikhail Sergachev or Brayden Point getting the trade wheels turning."
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.
Limiting Tampa’s offensive depth wouldn’t be ideal, however, with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov on board, the addition of Karlsson seems perfect.
While the Senators are in no rush to deal their captain, they will be considering all of their options. It has been said that Ottawa is looking to get rid of forward Bobby Ryan's contract in a deal for Karlsson.
Let's see where this leads as a trade could be underway here, and take place quite quickly in the end.