Oh, what a difference a year makes. This time last year both the Ottawa Senators and Edmonton Oilers were thought to be teams on the rise after impressive postseason runs. The Sens were just a Game 7 overtime goal away from playing the Nashville Predators in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final and the Edmonton Oilers had FINALLY made it back to the postseason thanks in large part to the efforts of superstar Connor McDavid and goaltender Cam Talbot. Flash forward a year and both teams are in the basement of the NHL and, evidently, at risk of receiving a giant overhaul from their respective general managers.
In the case of Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli, all he’s tasked with is improving his roster. For Sens GM Pierre Dorion however, he’s faced overhauling an organization whose reputation has been dragged through the mud the past 12 months after multiple scandals. First there was the ill-advised Kyle Turris for Matt Duchene swap, then the threats of relocation from owner Eugene Melnyk, the suspension of assistant GM Randy Lee for sexual misconduct and now the whole Erik Karlsson and Mike Hoffman accusations of cyber bullying and stalking. What a mess.
The situation between Karlsson, the Sens’ superstar captain, and Hoffman seems irreparable and it’s likely that at least one, if not both, player(s) are traded this offseason.
In his latest column for The Edmonton Journal, Oilers insider Jim Matheson reports that the Oilers and Senators have had trade discussions concerning Karlsson, but Matheson was vague on details.
And yes, the Edmonton Oilers, who as we all know have two major concerns, a right-shot offensive defenceman to help Connor McDavid and a top six right-winger, have called after Karlsson said he wants out of Ottawa — even if it seems improbable they could fit him under their salary cap.
So… who do the Sens want in return? What’s the talk? Mathewson admits that a deal seems unlikely because there’s little chance that a player of equal value on the Oilers roster, say Leon Draisaitl, gets moved.
If the Oilers are making their pitch, any talk of a straight-up Leon Draisaitl for Karlsson swap makes no sense from the Ottawa side because owner Eugene Melnyk is operating on the cheap. He’s looking for multiple pieces in a deal, with the Senators in rebuild mode like the New York Rangers. He’s not looking to take back a big one-off contract, especially for a centre when he’s already got Matt Duchene at $6 million.
It’s more likely that the Oilers have offered up a package similar to the one suggested by Matheson himself:
Hypothetically, Ottawa could be looking for Oscar Klefbom or Darnell Nurse because they would need a young defenceman to replace Karlsson, also the Oilers 10th overall pick in June to go with the Senators No. 4 selection. Maybe the Oilers third-round pick too in 2019 (they have their own and Islanders) and a prospect.
Interesting. Klefbom, 10th overall, a 3rd round pick and a prospect for Karlsson? Who says no to this deal, the Oilers or Sens?