The Ottawa Senators kept to their word Sunday as the team offered superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson a contract extension, according to NHL.com’s David Satriano. Terms of the extension offer were not disclosed. Despite the rumors of unhappiness with the ownership and his not willing to accept a “hometown” discount that has led to quite a bit of trade speculation over the past six months, general manager Pierre Dorion said the team had to make one final effort to keep Karlsson in the fold.
“We don’t really want to talk about roster players, contract negotiations, trades, all these things, but I think we owe it to our fans and we made a promise at the town hall that we would make a contract offer to Erik Karlsson and we’ve done so,” Dorion said Sunday.
Karlsson is in the last year of a seven-year, $45.5MM deal that he signed in 2012, which looks like a bargain as his AAV sits at just $6.5MM. However, with the sudden increase in salaries for star defenseman having increased, it’s likely that a new Karlsson deal will break the bank. Several defenseman have cashed in over the past few days, including Drew Doughty (eight years, $88MM, $11MM AAV), Oliver Ekman-Larsson (eight years, $66MM, $8.25MM AAV) and John Carlson (eight years, $64MM, $8MM AAV).
With increased trade rumors over the past week, there still hasn’t been a trade yet. The team has made it clear to teams that they are asking for a big return for their superstar center and have made it even more challenging for teams as they want the team also to take on the contract of Bobby Ryan, which still has four year left at $7.25MM. The Vegas Golden Knights have been the most talked about team since the trade deadline to get a deal done and they still could, but nothing has materialized yet. The Senators still have hope that Karlsson will sign an extension.
“I think Erik wants to be a Senator for life,” Dorion said then. “I don’t want to speak for him, I’ll let him speak for himself. We’ll see what the next few months bring, but if Erik Karlsson is here on July 1, we will be making him a contract offer.”