The Ottawa Senators are said to have very little untouchables as the trade deadline looms, making sure to reiterate that star defenseman and captain Erik Karlsson was not available on the market.
We believe them, after all, he is the face of the franchise and has mentioned the desire to stay in Ottawa. He is also hoping to bank in a lot of cash, and to play for a Cup contender, so the contract talks might be difficult on both sides as Karlsson will be eligible for free agency in 2019.
Now Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun has an advice for the Senators ahead of the trade deadline. An advice that might be the Plan B the Sens have in mind if ever they can't agree with Karlsson on a contract extension.
"Moving Cody Ceci wouldn’t be prudent at this juncture. The Senators don’t know what route Karlsson is going to take when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and they need to get a handle on whether he wants to sign a new deal. If Karlsson doesn’t, then he’s going to have to be dealt this summer," Garrioch writes.
Ceci has been mentioned in trade chatter for several weeks now, along with forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Derick Brassard and Mike Hoffman. However, Garrioch might be right in suggesting to keep the 24-year-old defenseman if the worst is going to happen and the Sens have to trade Karlsson instead of losing him for nothing.
"League sources insist the Tampa Bay Lightning have called the Senators about Karlsson or Ceci, but the Senators can’t decide on the latter until the former make a determination on his future with the organization.
"Ceci and Thomas Chabot are both good insurance policies to have around to play bigger roles if Karlsson gets dealt, but that’s a big if because the first priority of the Senators is to keep him."
Plan B in place, now let's focus on making sure they don't need it in the end...