Erik Karlsson wants the trade speculation to calm down. After expressing that he wouldn’t consider taking a “hometown discount” to stay with the Ottawa Senators when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019, and then being one of the players asked to submit his “no-trade” list on the weekend, rumors have run wild. Karlsson wants to put an end to that, and in speaking with Arash Madani of Sportsnet tried his very best.
This is the place I want to win with. I want to win in Ottawa. That’s where I’ll always be. It’s going to be my home, no matter where I end up playing when I get older, if that ever happens. So that’s the thing: I want to be where home is. I’m comfortable at home, I like it at home and Ottawa is home. Not only the organization, but the community and all my friends as well. That’s something that’s very important to me. Then, all the other stuff, they will just follow.
Karlsson regrets speaking about his future contract negotiations, but when they came during an anchor-like plummet to the bottom of the standings by the Senators they rang with a note of truth and expectation. The Senators have lost 11 of their last 12 games, including a 5-0 pummeling at the hands of San Jose on Saturday night. Ottawa was outshot 50-25 in the game, and now sit lower than all but the Buffalo Sabres in the Atlantic Division.
Still, despite many outlets (PHR included) suggesting it may be time to consider a move, Karlsson doesn’t appear to be on the block. In fact, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun cites two league sources that tell him Karlsson hasn’t been discussed at all in trade talks with GM Pierre Dorion. Garrioch instead suggests that the trio of Mike Hoffman, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Cody Ceci represent the “three best options that will bring return.” Hoffman was also among the group asked for their no-trade lists, while Pageau and Ceci have been linked to trade talks in the past.
The biggest decision still lies with Karlsson, who has 136 regular season games remaining under contract with the Senators. Whether they can even afford his next huge contract will be a huge factor in what happens during the end of this deal, as Dorion will surely get as many assets as possible if he realizes there is no extension coming. The two sides are able to negotiate on a new deal once July 1st, 2018 rolls around, a day circled on the calendar of many Ottawa fans.