The biggest trade rumour that seems to gather all the attention ahead of the Feb. 26 deadline is whether or not Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson will be on the move.
Hold your horses! NHL insiders believe he will stay in Ottawa. During last night's Insider Trading on TSN, Darren Dreger admitted that he believes it’s unlikely the Senators will move the star defenseman at the trade deadline. He suggests the chances of a trade improve in the offseason or it’s possible Karlsson could re-sign with the club who selected him in the first round, 15th overall, back in 2008. Still, Sens general manager Pierre Dorion has talked to teams and it’s assumed there’s a high level of interest in the Senators captain.
"What we know right now is that Pierre Dorion, the general manager for the Sens, has talked to teams, he’ll continue to talk to teams and he’s listening to that level of interest and you can assume that there is a high amount of interest in Erik Karlsson. Arguably, he’s the top defenceman in the National Hockey League," explained Dreger.
No surprise there.
Dreger and TSN colleague Bob McKenzie both agree that a massive offer will be needed to land Karlsson, but the latter believes a rival team might have the perfect trade pitch to convince Dorion to pull the trigger on his captain. McKenzie said he’s heard “upwards of five, six, seven pieces” and perhaps a team being asked to take on forward Bobby Ryan’s contract in that same deal. It is to be noted that Ryan still has four seasons remaining at an annual salary-cap hit of $7.25 million on his current deal.
"I think the Ottawa Senators are somewhat open to the idea of trading Erik Karlsson between now and the deadline and as a result those conversations are taking place. But it’s got to be for an absolutely huge haul. We’re hearing upwards of five, six, seven pieces and perhaps teams being asked to take on Bobby Ryan’s contract that has four years to go at more at $7 million a year. So to your point, Darren, I think the prices are astronomical and maybe that means they don’t really want to trade him between now and the deadline. But if they get a king’s ransom then they would consider it."
One rumoured trade package for Karlsson was said to be from the Tampa Bay Lightning, who would need to move promising defender Mikhail Sergachev, forward Brayden Point, and their first round pick for the next three seasons. Sergachev has proven to be a future star on the blue line, Point has the potential to be a consistent point per game forward in the future and the first rounders will always be required in a deal for Karlsson.
However, you better believe that the Senators and Dorion are aware that no matter what five, six or seven pieces that come back in this potential deal could be anything, but they won’t be Karlsson.
This is a huge risk to take, but Dorion has already made a risky move this season in the three-way Matt Duchene trade, and could be willing to pull off another one. Who knows!