After the Ottawa Senators offered superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson a contract that was not well-received, the team gave interested competitors the permission to speak to him about contract terms. NBC Sports’ Kathryn Tappen reported that the Senators’ offer was for eight years at $10MM per season, an amazing amount of money to a layperson but truthfully an insult to Karlsson in light of recent contracts signed by Drew Doughty and John Tavares. As such, Tappen and others have added that other teams are now in hot pursuit and serious trade talks are underway.
As of this evening, the leader in those talks are the Dallas Stars. The Athletic’s Chris Stevenson has heard from a source in the NHL that the Stars have emerged as a front runner for Karlsson and that Dallas and Ottawa are deep in talks about a trade that would include the Norris Trophy winner but not overpaid forward Bobby Ryan, a major hindrance in many teams’ acquisition plans. Stevenson is based in Ottawa and is allegedly close to the Senators and his The Athletic colleague in Dallas, Sean Shapiro, says that he has also heard that the Stars are legitimately interested and that a hypothetical deal is a real possibility.
Immediately, the question is what the potential return for the Senators could be that would both pry Karlsson out of Ottawa but also keep Ryan there. Shapiro believes that any deal for Karlsson would have to include young defenseman Julius Honka, while Ottawa may actually prefer a more established name like Esa Lindell. It would also make sense for the Sens to target the Stars top blue line prospect, 2017 third overall pick Miro Heiskanen. Others who could be part of the package include young two-way centers Radek Faksa or Devin Shore, recently re-acquired winger Valeri Nichushkin, and project forward Riley Tufte. While only time will tell if a trade is completed and what the pieces will be, this is the first time that any specific team has been confirmed to be in real trade talks for Karlsson and it now seems like only a matter of time before the all-word defender is traded, to Dallas or elsewhere.