Leafs were in on Karlsson trade talks!?

NHL insider Elliotte Friedman drops a bomb! This would have been CRAZY!

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In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 24 hours, the Ottawa Senators traded superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks for a package deal of picks and prospects.

In case you missed the details, here’s the full deal: 

To San Jose Sharks:D Erik Karlsson
F Francis Perron
To Ottawa Senators:F Chris Tierney
D Dylan DeMeloF Rudolfs Balcers
F Josh Norris (rights)2019 2nd RD pick *higher of two SJ own
2020 1st RD pick *conditional2021 2nd RD pick *conditional

Underwhelming? Maybe, but you can’t argue that Sens general manager Pierre Dorion doesn’t have the guts to make a giant blockbuster transaction. Still… you have to think that he could have gotten more for Karlsson if he either dealt him at the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline, or opened up the bidding to division rivals. We already know that the Tampa Bay Lightning were in on Karlsson talks, but what about another division rival? What about the… Toronto Maple Leafs?

Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman was on Toronto’s Sportsnet 590 yesterday afternoon where he broke down the Karlsson blockbuster but he also dropped a BOMB regarding the Leafs and their interest in the former Sens captain. 

Check out some of these juicy quotes:

“Someday, I would like to take Kyle Dubas and slip some like truth serum into whatever he’s drinking and say, ‘Did you call Ottawa and offer to take Karlsson for one year?’”
“This is a really unique season for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Obviously you’ve got Tavares, you’re going to try to solve the Nylander problem, and you’ve got Matthews and Marner in the last year of their ELCs - it’s a very unique opportunity.”
“And they could, if they wanted to, go out and get someone like a Karlsson, like a Panarin. They’ve got the assets to say, ‘We’re going to try this for one year and we’ll go for it and we’ll worry about everything else in 12 months.’ Dubas strikes me as the kind of different thinker who would try something like that.”
“But one thing is, you look at that deal yesterday and you look at those two stipulations on the end of the deal. If he goes to the Eastern Conference this season, we get an extra first-round draft pick. That says to me they didn’t want Karlsson in the East, and there was going to be a premium to do it. “
“And I could absolutely see Ottawa saying, ‘We’re not sending Karlsson to Tampa, and we’re not sending him to Toronto.’”

Wow… could you imagine the outcry from the Sens fanbase if they saw the most beloved player in franchise history traded to their most bitter rival? I mean… Dion Phaneuf was trade to the Sens while he was the Leafs’ captain, but Phaneuf was not nearly as revered in Toronto as Karlsson is in Ottawa. Imagine Daniel Alfredsson being traded to the Leafs. There’s really no other comparison…