Let's start with this: there are many facts in the Erik Karlsson saga that hints at the conclusion that the Ottawa Senators captain might want to be traded and start fresh somewhere else. Just to start, the heartbreaking situation where the poor defenseman lost his first born son, in itself, would push anyone to want to move away and start all over.
Then, there is another complicated story: earlier this summer we learned of a giant rift that have formed in the Senators locker room, specifically between former Senators forward Mike Hoffman and Karlsson. The feud was not a direct result of the men themselves but rather a dispute between Monika Caryk, Hoffman's fiancee, and Melinda Karlsson. Melinda Karlsson had submitted a sworn statement in court claiming that she had been the victim of harassment and abuse from Caryk and she painted a very dark picture of Hoffman's partner.
"Monika Caryk has uttered numerous statements wishing my unborn child dead ... uttered that she wished I was dead and that someone should 'take out' my husband's legs to end his career," said the statement as per ESPN.
While Hoffman was traded away, now playing for the Florida Panthers, we can once again understand why Karlsson would want to start anew.
However, according to NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman, who explained more on the situation during a segment on NHL Network, there is some elements that need to be clarified on what took place earlier this month when it was believed that a trade was almost completed between the Senators and the Tampa Bay Lightning for the star blue liner.
Regarding the trade chatter linking Karlsson to the Lightning, and then to Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights, Friedman doubts it was as close as rumor had it. Friedman got the information from a league general manager who told him there’s a sense that Karlsson would prefer remaining a Senator but not under the current situation.
As for a trade, Friedman points out that one holdup is that ownership wants winger Bobby Ryan to be part of the deal and the NHL insider does not expect many teams able to take it on as Ryan’s $7.25-million annual cap hit through 2021-22 appears to be too much.
So, it looks like some Karlsson were blown out of proportions... or they almost happen and something significant broke them off. However, if Friedman is right and Karlsson wants to remain in Ottawa, what can the Senators do to convince him to stay?