For anyone hoping their team’s GM is in the mix to land Ottawa Senators superstar Erik Karlsson, Sens GM Pierre Dorion has a warning for you: Think again.
The plan in Ottawa is to keep the captain around for the long-haul, as Ottawa Sun columnist Bruce Garrioch reports that the Senators will attempt to re-sign Karlsson to a new contract this upcoming offseason. Dorion made waves over the weekend by responding to Karlsson trade rumors with, “even Wayne Gretzky got traded.” He later laughed off the speculation though and added that he wants Karlsson to be a “Senator for life.”'
The “Gretzky” comments certainly caught Karlsson off guard, as well. “It’s true, it happened, but by no means am I anywhere even close to that, so I don’t even know why the parallel is even being drawn to that,” Karlsson said Saturday night following his team’s 4-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Scheduled to hit unrestricted free-agency in the summer of 2019, Karlsson can begin negotiating a contract extension with the Sens on July 1st, 2018. The Sens captain currently earns $6.5 million per season, but could nearly double that figure on his next contract with numbers like $10-12 million being thrown around. It remains to be seen what the appetite from the Sens, a budget team, is for that kind of money on a long term deal. For what it’s worth, Karlsson has maintained throughout the entire process that he’d like to remain in Ottawa. But he realizes that the NHL is a business, so he hasn’t closed the door to other options, including testing the free-agent market.
“I still have (18 months) left to be here and work as hard as I can and as best as I can as a hockey player to try to make this team as good as possible. When that time comes to make a decision, I will make one. As of right now, it’s not something I have to worry about.”
Wow… how does that make you feel Sens fans? A little uneasy? Just rest assured that the priority in Ottawa is to re-sign Karlsson. This approach isn’t likely to change regardless of the team’s results on the ice. But, until the captain puts pen to paper, don’t expect the trade chatter to die down.