The Ottawa Senators made waves this morning when they traded Mike Hoffman to the San Jose Sharks, but may not be done stealing the headlines this week. Frank Seravalli of TSN reports that all eyes are now on captain Erik Karlsson, and that talks have started up again with the Vegas Golden Knights who came close to acquiring the superstar defenseman at the trade deadline:
There are lots of teams around the NHL that have perked up and believe that Erik Karlsson could be on the move at some point this week as the NHL Awards wrap up in Vegas on Wednesday night and teams head to Dallas for the NHL Draft. The team to watch continues to be the Vegas Golden Knights, the team that went down to the wire with the Ottawa Senators at 2:45pm before the 3pm trade deadline back in February, nearly pulling off a blockbuster deal to bring the two-time Norris trophy winner to the Stanley Cup finalist Golden Knights. It seems like those two teams have revisited those talks, they’ve heated up. To be sure Pierre Dorion’s phone is ringing.
The Golden Knights apparently came as close as anyone during the trade deadline, with a deal falling apart because the team refused to include top prospect Cody Glass. Glass, selected sixth overall last summer, had 102 points in the WHL this season and looks like a future top-two center for the Knights and potential star. While Karlsson is obviously worthy of a huge package, the team likely wasn’t thrilled with the idea of trading for him only to see him hit free agency in the summer of 2019. Now, as July 1st approaches the Senators can potentially get Karlsson to agree to a long-term extension with the acquiring team, increasing his price tag even further.
It’s not just Vegas that will be after the 28-year old defenseman if he’s truly on the block. Karlsson is the type of talent that could turn a playoff bubble team into a contender, even despite his relatively down 2017-18 season. After offseason ankle surgery Karlsson started the year playing at a level not indicative of his talent, but turned it around and ended up with 62 points by season’s end. That came with just nine goals though, a relatively low total for Karlsson who has five times scored at least 16 in a season.
There will be plenty of interest from around the league, and the Senators could potentially land a huge package of picks and prospects before Friday’s draft. That said, the team is still in the troublesome situation of having to give Colorado either their pick this year—the fourth-overall selection and a potential shot at Filip Zadina—or next year, which could end up near the very top of the draft given their exodus of talent.